About a year ago, a collegue of mine gave me a copy of 37 Signals book Getting Real. The book has been a trusted friend since then. Not that it contains much new and revolutionary insights that I did not already have (their ideas are not entirely new, but the ideas are very well communicated), but it helps to remind me what is important not only in web application development and in other areas as well. The latter is not just something they say:
While this book's emphasis is on building a web app, a lot of these ideas are applicable to non-software activities too. The suggestions about small teams, rapid prototyping, expecting iterations, and many others presented here can serve as a guide whether you're starting a business, writing a book, designing a web site, recording an album, or doing a variety of other endeavors. Once you start Getting Real in one area of your life, you'll see how these concepts can apply to a wide range of activities.
- Stay Lean. The leaner you are, the easier it is to change.
- If you feel passionate about your app, it will come through to the final product.
- Embrace constraints. Let limitations guide you to creative solutions.
- Ignore details early on. Details reveal themselves as you use what you're building.
- Figure out what matters and leave the rest.
- Don't force conventions on people. Give people just enough to solve their own problems their own way.
- If you try to please veryone, you won't please anyone.
- Get something up and running quickly. Real things lead to real reactions.
- Don't expect to get it right the first time. Let it morph and evolve. With web-based software there's no need to ship perfection.
- Test via real world usage. Get real feedback. Then improve based on that info.