I had a chance to read great books this year. Here are top 5 of my favorites.
Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations, by Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. This book presents original research into how technology organizations can be effective in software delivery. The authors found that low, medium, high, and elite performers are different from each other on four metrics Lead time for change, deployment frequency, time to restore service, and change failure rate. Based on statistical methods, they show that DevOps & Lean Software Development are the ways to deliver software right. Better delivery performance can lead to better organizational performance.
Adopting InnerSource, by Danese Cooper & Klaas-Jan Stol. I believe Open Source has the power to transform the world. By being open & free, it enables cross-border collaboration on building new technologies & solving real world issues. This book shows that we can embrace such open spirit within organizations to develop non-open-source or proprietary software. The authors present case studies from various companies (e.g, PayPal, Ericsson, Bosch) to show when and why InnerSource may be useful to your organization. From my own experience, Inner Source also allow companies to break down some
organizational silos, reduce cost by encouraging code reuse & cross-team cooperations. Last but not least, the book’s accompanied by InnerSource Commons, a vibrant community of companies practicing InnerSource.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, by Professor Richard P. Rumelt, at UCLA Anderson School of Management. IMHO a good leader looks forward to discovering new opportunities, products or services for an organization to achieve strategic goals and missions. Knowing how to formulate and implement a strategy is a critical skill every leader should have. This book teaches me a valuable lesson about what a strategy is. By providing vivid examples, the author explains what makes a strategy good, and what makes a strategy bad. I will always remember the three elements of a good strategy: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent actions. I wish the author provides a process/framework of how to create good strategies. For the time being, I’m diving deeper into Wardley Mapping, a visual approach to strategic leadership. It’s great to see how principles from
Sun Tzu's The Art of War are materialized in the current social and technological context.
Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible, by Tamsen Webster. Storytelling is a social and cultural activity of sharing stories since the beginning of human existence. Stories are how we remember things since childhood. It’s great to play role of Theseus, a hero in Geek Mythology, navigating through the Labyrinth to slay the monster Minotaur. Through stories, we explain our ideas, persuade people to act (e.g, to unify toward a strategic mission, to adopt new products). But not all of us are good storytellers. Sometimes our ideas die the moment we have to explain them to an audience. If you’re like me, you probably have a hard time trying to present them attractively. Structuring a story clearly & elegantly is what this book will teach you. Using the Red Thread framework, we can also summarize ideas in a concise form known as “Minimum Viable Message” to present them in 30 seconds or less. All in all, it’s a mind-blowing read for me.
Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask, by Michael J. Marquardt. If you want to encourage leadership at any organizational levels, this book is definitely for you. Asking the right questions can gather wisdom from members to have a more-complete view of any problem. Through openly & collaboratively answering such questions, members will develop a sense of ownership, which also lead to leadership.