Work philosophy canon
Having some shared culture is important for working together well, and we can build that culture on familiar terminology, understanding, experiences, stories, and ideas.
To help give all of us at End Point some common reference points, we have collected a set of valuable articles and books that we encourage everyone to read.
Some of these have been standard reading at End Point for more than a decade, while others have been added over the years since we began doing this. Some are short and simple, others more in-depth. Our list is intentionally general, mostly avoiding specific technologies that only a subset of us use.
No one article or book can be entirely authoritative for all situations, but each gives us more of the wisdom out there to consider and judiciously apply where it fits.
Slow and steady
When new employees start at End Point, we ask them to read the articles during their first week or two, and the relevant books within roughly their first year.
Reading only a little at each sitting and spreading the reading out over time allows the ideas to sink in gradually and be incorporated into our work, rather than overwhelming with new information that cannot all be absorbed at once.
Because we work in the software development industry, it is important that not only technical people such as developers, database experts, and system administrators be part of the shared culture. Everyone else at End Point including designers, project managers, sales, marketing, etc. should also be familiar with these articles and the terms and concepts they discuss:
- Speed matters: Why working quickly is more important than it seems by James Somers
- Please don’t just say hello in chat by Brandon High
- Learn to Read the Source, Luke by Jeff Atwood—practical reasons free software and open source matter, and why actually using the source code matters
- What is free software? by the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman
- The Open Source Definition by the Open Source Initiative
- Josh’s Rules (of Database Contracting) by Josh Berkus
- On excellence by Ethan Rowe—about ownership, taking responsibility for the problem at hand
- Conventions to know by Jon Jensen—little but important things that ease communication in our work
- Selling Without Being Salesy by Jason Parks
- Five Whys by Eric Ries (covered in more depth in his book The Lean Startup)
- Software Is a Mess and I Feel Fine by Alan Stevens
- Choose Boring Technology by Dan McKinley
- Getting Real book by 37signals (now Basecamp)
These articles and books are targeted primarily at developers but enlightening for everyone:
- A summary of the international standard date and time notation by Markus Kuhn
- The Admin Zen by Michael Prokop—in true DevOps fashion, this system administration advice applies to development too
- Things You Should Never Do, Part I by Joel Spolsky—don’t rewrite things from scratch (almost never, anyway)
- On Git Commit Messages by Michael Jones; to get a feel for the long history of others sermonizing on the same worthwhile topic, see also:
- Every line of code is always documented by Mislav Marohnić; see also The git pickaxe by Philip Potter
- How to Read Other People’s Code—and Why by Christopher Schanck
- The Pragmatic Programmer book by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas (see the write-up on the new 20th anniversary edition by Jon Jensen)
- Practices of an Agile Developer book by Venkat Subramaniam and Andy Hunt—kind of a sequel to The Pragmatic Programmer (see the review by Ethan Rowe)
We are always on the lookout for other readings that are helpful, so feel free to leave a comment with your favorites!
(Updated in early 2021 with articles on Git commit messages and history spelunking, and Choose Boring Technology.)