Author: Marian Petre, André Van Der Hoek and Yen Quach
Publisher: MIT Press
Audience: Software Designers
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank
This book consists of sixty-six short one-page insights each putting forward an idea about how expert software designers think.
This is an interesting concept, and while some ot the ideas contained in the book seem quite obvious, when was the last time you stopped and thought about how the way you work?
The authors have spoken to a wide variety of expert software designers, and asked them for insights into how they work. The results of these interviews and observations have been distilled into eleven sections, each taking an overall idea and expanding it into a number of specifics.
In each case, the ideas are put forward in a two-page illustrated spread, with the concept being discussed on one page, expanded into a short explanatory text of no more than a paragraph on one page, and a drawing on the facing page.
The sections are called Experts keep it simple; Experts collaborate; Experts borrow; Experts break the rules; Experts sketch; Experts work with uncertainty; Experts are not afraid; Experts iterate; Experts test; Experts reflect; and Experts keep going.
The simple layout and the brevity of the text make this a book that's easy to underestimate, but the authors have made the choices to keep it simple quite deliberately.
When I first opened the book, I thought it was over simplified, and I couldn't see the point of the illustrations. However, if you treat the ideas almost as five minute 'thought for the day' essays, and really ask yourself whether you do what the authors are saying experts do, there are some useful insights in this text.
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