Shipping Greatness – Practical lessons on building and launching outstanding software, learned on the job at Google and Amazon by Chris Vander Mey is a must have for any team lead or software developer out there. Especially if you have not worked at one of these companies. Personally, I wish that I could have read this book at the beginning of my career, but its better late than never. This book covers a lot of great topics about shipping great software that you do not learn in any software engineering course and you might not experience at the companies that you work for. Not only does this book cover the many topics needed to ship great software, but it also goes into more soft skills types of topics like selecting a team, building a mission statement and overall strategy, measuring greatness by using metrics, how to be a great communicator, and more. I have been developing software for a long time and feel that I have developed good applications throughout my career. I think you always learn from your experiences and continue to improve on the overall process of building and shipping software.
I have always felt that you can learn more things (technology, languages, process, etc) from surrounding yourself by smart people. I did that with my friends that were also in the Computer Science program in my undergrad and continue doing that today. You can learn so much by other people’s experiences that would take you a life time to learn on your own. I feel that this book is following that philosophy and sharing the authors experiences at shipping great software from two well-known companies.
Personally, I think it would be very interesting to produce a survey paper on other well-known companies for producing software and find out the common things between them. I think this would be a great idea if you could have access to people of the same quality as the author of this book.
After reading this book, I have already improved on the way that I am writing my emails by making them more to the point and easier for executives to be able to scan and understand quickly. There are so many great like tips throughout this book and I have never highlighted so much within a book of this size. Again I would recommend this book to anyone that is currently a team lead (maybe not people who work at Google or Amazon, since they already are experiencing this) or a developer that wants to get better at production great software. I would like to say thanks to the author for putting together this information and allowing all of us to improve our building and launching of great software.