Required Reading Team Geek

donnie flood - 07 Mar 2014

From the beginning (2008), the engineering team at Bizo has focused on building a great culture around a few key attributes like quality, discipline and communication. A couple of years ago our director of engineering, Larry, happened upon a book, Team Geek, that does an amazing job of describing the ideal set of cultural tenants and personal behaviors that we are trying to build our culture around.

After reading it in one evening (the book is a short 194 pages), I immediately bought copies for the entire engineering team and setup a few "book club" meetings where we all discussed the contents of the book and how they related to our team. And now, every new engineer that joins is required to read the book.

Here is a list of the chapters (I should do some future chapter highlight posts):

  • Chapter 1: The Myth of the Genius Programmer
  • Chapter 2: Building an Awesome Team Culture
  • Chapter 3: Every Boat Needs a Captain
  • Chapter 4: Dealing with Poisonous People
  • Chapter 5: The Art of Organizational Manipulation
  • Chapter 6: Users Are People, Too

Among other things "Team Geek" does a great job of describing what makes a great team member with the acronym of HRT (pronounced like "heart") which stands for Humility, Respect and Trust. We've adopted this term internally as part of the cultural nomenclature.

Overall, I think any and all engineering professionals should read this book and take to heart some of the lessons on how to define a great engineering culture and more importantly how to become someone that not only solves hard technical problems but is a pleasure to work with. Even non-engineers can take a lot of these lessons to heart; Humility, Respect and Trust are definitely characteristics that make good team members no matter the part of the organization.

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