Team Geek: – A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well
by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman
Publisher: O’Reilly Media – Released: July 2012 – Pages: 194
For a book of so few pages, it has a lot crammed into it.
The authors have great backgrounds in the IT industry (both having worked on
Subversion and now both working at Google) the book is split into 6 chapters,
and each one is as good as the other. You don’t need to read the book cover to
cover, diving in anywhere that takes your fancy will still give you some great
Throughout the book, there are multiple references to
different people they have met during their working careers, I could either
relate to these people, or think of someone I know that was very similar. The
book starts off about the individual developer, and then grows this to a team
They cover some of the quirks of the culture at Google, and
how they have worked in different cultures and how important it is to have a
great working culture and to protect it, for the greater good of the team.
They touch on leaders, and how many great engineers really
don’t want to manage people, so at Google they have created two types of
positions. Technical Lead and Technical Lead Manager both do almost the same
role but the latter has a team to manage. This I feel really does help keep
your best engineers, they can do what they do best and if you can one that
wants to manage people you then you have your role title for them ready.
Chapter 4 talks about developers and people who can really
upset the apple cart and sap the energy and productive time out of a team, both
local teams and remote disturbed teams. Here again I could see others I know and myself
in some of stories told.
Chapter 5 is about how to manage the organisation you work
in, the fact you need to manage upwards as well as downwards, the guys talk about the ideal organisation
and how it ought to function, and then brings us back to earth with the reality
but some really good and useful ideas on how to cope / change the issues you
Chapter 6 goes to talk about the users, how we should
involve our users more in the development of the software we build. The authors
highlight some really good points that are simple and easily implemented in
most teams. They also talk about some of the Google ways of doing things, and
they really make sense and make you start to think differently about how you
I’d recommend this book to any developer, which wants to
progress in their career and move up the ladder but know what may come up
during your journey. Knowing you’re not alone, and others have the same issues
you encounter makes things seem so much better.
You can grab the book from Amazon: Team Geek