Many of you are familiar with software company 37 Signals. For those of you who have never heard of 37 Signals, they are the rockstars of minimalist web-based software design. We're big fans of 37 Signals at PointAbout. 37 Signals has recently released a free e-book called "Getting Real" that talks about smart software design. More on that in a minute.
First, here's a great interview with 37 Signals by Interface Magazine:
If you're a software designer, or you're interested in software design, or you just want to immerse yourself in a different way of thinking, you should definitely read Getting Real, a 171 page book by 37 Signals. The book is divided up into a series of separate essays that can each stand alone.
I just read Getting Real and here are my take-aways and here are my take aways: A lot of what 37 Signals says is obvious, and yet over and over I've observed people having trouble believing in its mantras (myself included). So although it seems obvious to some, maybe to you, it won't be obvious to everyone, and in fact some people may fight you on these points tooth & nail.
37 Signals, while huge in reputation, is only 16 employees. Amazing how high their influence & productivity level is with such a small team.
They write, "You can't give away your magic. But you can give away some basics." 37 Signals believes in teaching as much as possible. PointAbout is focusing on knowledge transfer with our new office at 1410Q that will allow us to really embrace and follow this approach.
My Favorite Essays from Getting Real:
- Build less features: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch02_Build_Less.php
- Build with 3 people: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch03_The_Three_Musketeers.php
- Macro to Micro: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch04_Ignore_Details_Early_On.php
- When is it a problem? http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch04_Its_a_Problem_When_Its_a_Problem.php
- Make opinionated software: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch04_Make_Opinionated_Software.php
- Half, not Half-Assed: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch05_Half_Not_Half_Assed.php
- It doesn't matter: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch05_It_Just_Doesnt_Matter.php
- Start with No: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch05_Start_With_No.php + the23 steps to the hidden costs: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch05_Hidden_Costs.php
- Forget feature requests: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch05_Forget_Feature_Requests.php
- Brainstorm to coding: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch06_From_Idea_to_Implementation.php
- Avoid Preferences: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch06_Avoid_Preferences.php
- Alone Time: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch07_Alone_Time.php
- Meetings are toxic: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch07_Meetings_Are_Toxic.php
- Hire less: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch08_Hire_Less_and_Hire_Later.php
- Hire based on open source contributions: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch08_Actions_Not_Words.php
- Get well rounded individuals: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch08_Get_Well_Rounded_Individuals.php
- Hire good writers: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch08_Wordsmiths.php
- Epicenter Design: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch09_Epicenter_Design.php
- Importance of the blank slate: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch09_The_Blank_Slate.php
- Build admin into the design: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch09_One_Interface.php
- Restate hard problems as simpler ones = write less software: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch10_Less_Software.php
- The code pushes back: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch10_Code_Speaks.php
- No functional specs: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch11_Theres_Nothing_Functional_about_a_Functional_Spec.php
- Ride the blog wave: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch13_Ride_the_Blog_Wave.php
- Everyone including developers should be handling support: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch14_Feel_The_Pain.php
- Quick support turnaround times: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch14_Answer_Quick.php
- Prioritize bugs: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch15_All_Bugs_Are_Not_Created_Equal.php
- No knee-jerk reactions: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch15_Ride_Out_the_Storm.php