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Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  437 ratings  ·  32 reviews

In the course of their 20+-year engineering careers, authors Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman have picked up a treasure trove of wisdom and anecdotes about how successful teams work together. Their conclusion? Even among people who have spent decades learning the technical side of their jobs, most haven’t really focused on the human component. Learning to

Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by O'Reilly Media
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Erika RS
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
I can highly recommend this book to individual contributors and those early in their leadership journey. It provides a good discussion of what makes a healthy team and how to work well in one. It talks about good leadership and company cultures. It even talks about why marketing (caring about first impressions), customer service (listening to your customers), and company politics (coordinating large groups of people with multiple goals) aren't always as bad as they're made out to be.

That said,
Lance Willett
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The purpose of this book is to help people improve their collaborate with others. The authors introduce it as “social challenges of creative collaboration.”

Cool tech history note. The authors worked on the Subversion open source project; and later at Google on Google Code.

The book reads as a series of essays; it’s easy to pick up a chapter or section without going end to end.

The “core traits to remember” are abbreviated “HRT” and stand for humility, respect, and trust.

Hat tip: Andrés Bastidas.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The second edition of Team Geek was renamed to Debugging Teams to reflect a partial rewrite to make the book more accessible to people who aren't on software engineering teams. But, the focus is still very much on debugging a software engineering team. That said, there is a lot of value for non-engineers, but expect to find yourself flipping through several less relevant sections very fast.

If you're on a software engineering team, I highly recommend this great book with very relevant, useful
Emre Sevinç
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First things first: If you read or ever heard about the famous "Peopleware: Productive Projects and TeamsPeopleware: Productive Projects and Teams", you can consider "Debugging Teams" a perfect companion for the issues pertaining to modern information technology teams and their dynamics.

The book's strong point stems from the fact that the authors have experience both in managing and be managed, as well as dealing with complex open source community and the dynamics of their members. They don't
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, owned, 2019
This is a great book to read as a team. It's full of easy to understand and practical advice. This edition of the book is intended for a larger audience than just programmers but all the good examples are from programming teams.

I liked the theme of HRT that's throughout the book -- Humility, Respect, and Trust. Some of the ideas I found worth writing down.

* Fail early, fail fast, fail often -- don't work in isolation or be afraid to share work in progress
* Ask questions to guide other to their
The authors say that "Geniuses still make mistakes and having brilliant ideas and elite programming skills don’t guarantee that your software will be a hit. What’s going to make or break your career is how well you collaborate with others." It shows that crafting the ability to collaborate is equally important as learning new programming languages and mastering the ones we already know. This book explains in just six chapters how to improve collaboration skills, how to build a strong team ...more
Teresa Portela
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really changed me and had me see the value in incorporating a mission statement, regardless of what team you’re on, or level in your company. The principles in the book speak to Humility, Respect, and Trust, and how each of those is integral for building the best team. It’s a very quick read, but I highlighted a lot of quotes from it. Probably the best part speaks to how IT folks get thrust into management, it’s usually not a path we want to go down. How do you traverse that? Get this ...more
Robson Castilho
People are the main component of a project. That said, it's extremely important to know how to build a solid team. The authors cover a lot of scenarios of collaboration with people inside your team, how to lead them, how to shield them against poisonous people, how to collaborate with people from another areas of the company and with the users of your product.

Highly recommended (whether you are an individual contributor, a team leader or intend to become one).
Majisha Namath Parambath
Loved this book! I wish I had read this much earlier, probably when I started my career. This book is not just meant for people managers, but also for individual contributors who have to work together in a team to build great products. The experience of the authors enriches this book with an abundance of relatable examples.
Elias Daler
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Pretty okay book. Lots of advice is just common sense, but there are parts here and there that may be useful in the future, especially if you never encountered situations described in the book.

Definitely a good read for people who never read anything like this before. Maybe if all people followed the advice here, it'd be a better place. :)
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors talk about some problems and bad behaviors that can affect teams. I definitely saw myself in some of the "don't do this" examples. Whoops. If I had read this book ten years ago (or even one year ago) my life today would be very different. Live and learn, right?
David Robillard
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management
How I wish this book existed when I started leading teams several years ago! IMHO, this is one of the very best books on team leading and general corporate life. A must read for anyone working with teams!
Jacek Tomaszewski
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good book for matured software engineers who are now stepping into more management-like or leadership-like roles. (Especially the first two parts. The last part focused on the users was IMHO a bit off-topic.)
Tess Huelskamp
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick, entertaining, and surprisingly dense book detailing what components make up successful software engineering - or really any! - teams. I didn't exactly learn anything new reading this book but find incredible value in this book being citable.

Worth the read.
Michał Węgrzyn
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
There is something special in books written by engineers to engineers. I like whatever this is and want more of it.
Liuyang Li
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a well-worth quick read if you are an engineer who wants to maximize your impact by picking up soft skills.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Says a lot of useful things, particularly for such a small volume, but some of them are a little depressing.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: od
I'm probably not the ideal audience for this, but I'd recommend it to those new to working in the tech industry to need to understand how engineering teams can operate and cooperate effectively.
Christian Daniel
The book has good tips and advice to become a better team member and improve the relationships between team
David Dias
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book, lots of practical team management and building experience. It was perfect to refresh concepts I had learned from Peopleware and Code Complete 2
Vladimir Kotov
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, a lot of real-life situations in software development may be useful in the future, patterns, and antipatterns for managing a team of software engineers.
Phil Sykes
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basic stuff (and no big surprises for me personally; much of it is in the curriculum at work), but well written & engaging.
Shyue Ping Ong
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
This very short book covers a lot of commonsense stuff about how to manage teams and users. It ultimately falls short in practical examples.
Yagiz Erkan
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains a lot of good advice and interesting opinions. Some of them are applicable to most parts of life, not only in the context of work. I would expect that most people would find a big part of the content "common sense", but it's not easy to build a team and cultivate a company culture despite the ingredients' making perfect sense to us. And that's where it's good to read books like "Debugging Teams". We need to be reminded of those important points.

What's also interesting is
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: productivity, own
Depending on your background, your mileage will vary with this book. I don't work in software development so not everything resonated, but the authors are right to claim that the book has relevance to other areas. There are all sorts of tips about how to be a good manager, a good team player, how to handle difficult colleagues, and how to think about your team's overall goal and how you are getting there. There are some memorable anecdotes and some amusing tails that you will remember long after ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-ish
While much of this is straight-forward, their emphasis on HRT rang very true for me. I'd think of it as a reasonable thought catalyst - while it isn't extraordinarily new, it would certainly be a good touch point depending on what you're experiencing.

Humans are the most complex piece of any organization, and the authors do a solid job of cataloging some of the more frequent examples and offering some tips to manage through/around/with them.
Ana Todor
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant book for any developer making the jump to roles which are more management oriented. The stories presented inside are generic enough. They are essentially about the art of maintaining any healthy, functional community. You could take the mentioned anecdotes, remove the parts specific to product development, and substitute the whole setting. Great pace and language.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book about software development team chemistry.
Rodion Krivoshein
Listen to your HRT, underpromise, overdeliver.
Matthew Brown
Great intro book on the people side of software. Highly reccomend this to all of my engineer friends, even if you have 0 interest in getting into management.
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“Traditional managers worry about how to get things done, while leaders worry about what things get done…(and trust their team to figure out how to do it).” 0 likes
“Fitz treated Jerry like an adult, Jerry always got his work done, and Fitz never had to worry about Jerry being at his desk, because Jerry didn’t need a babysitter.” 0 likes
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