Sunday, June 7, 2015

Jeff Sutherland: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Date: 4/2015

Title: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Author: Jeff Sutherland

Duration: 6.5 hrs

Review: I don't recommend this book to anyone who has been doing agile scrum for a while.  It's a cheerleading collection of examples of uses where scrum saved the day, but it doesn't have any advice for the many day to day difficulties of implementing scrum: stories routinely get carried over into future sprints, pressures to change scope mid-sprint, the tendency for testing to be back loaded into the sprint (all stories coming to a ready-for-testing-state at once, near the end of the sprint), the level of effort for developers to support their stories through testing is difficult to estimate in points, maintenance work is continuous, as opposed to periodic, and doesn't lend its self well to time windows like sprints, product teams often need to be larger than a half dozen and many other real problems inherent in the scrum methodology.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't yet found a better way; as far as I'm concerned the agile scrum methodology is the best process framework for software development. But, it's still very hard to develop high quality software in an efficient and predictable way, and this book didn't offer me anything to help with the hard parts of agile scrum software development.

Jennifer Foehner Wells: Fluency

Date: 4/2015

Title: Fluency

Author: Jennifer Foehner Wells

Duration: 10.5 hrs

Review: I really enjoyed this page turner of a yarn. Some interesting ideas, but mostly, for me, just a good ol' space adventure with lots of action. This story has some emotional  and inter-relational human complexities and nuances that don't usually make it into military space expedition stories. I liked it and would recommend it to anyone.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Viktor Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning

Date: 3/2015

Title: Man's Search for Meaning

Author: Victor Frankl

Duration: 5 hrs

Review: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space...".  The incredible memoir of Victor Frankl, concentration camp survivor and founder of Logotherapy. Frankl successfully explains where resilience comes from

What a hero...truly inspirational.  I loved it!

Daniel H. Pink: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Date: 3/2015

Title: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Author: Daniel H. Pink

Duration: 6 hrs

Review: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose...right, got it. Interesting and useful if somewhat overstated. Also, very interesting ideas regarding the motivational effectiveness of carrots; It's not in the carrots themselves but in the way that they are offered. 

Dave Sedaris: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Date: 3/2015

Title: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Author: Dave Sedaris

Duration: 6.5 hrs

Review: I love Dave Sedaris:  Hilarious, sarcastic but not distant, personal, human.

Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Date: 2/2015

Title: "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything"

Author: Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Duration: 6.5 hrs

Review: More Super fun explorations and explanations of apparent paradoxes, that, once explained are revealed to be shaped by the same forces as other, less controversial reasoning for observations. Why do very successful drug dealers still live with their parents?  What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime. What makes this book, indeed, this genre so fun is that the authors,  in this case Levitt and Dubner,  manage to find the quantifiable, which is the trustworthy explanation, for phenomena that are not readily quantified. Super fun read... I recommend it to anyone.