Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
"Leadership is influence." — John Maxwell
Here is my latest list of leadership books. While I don’t know if it’s the ultimate leadership book list, it’s pretty exhaustive.
I have an enormous library of books. For many months, I’ve spent around $300 a month on books. I read fast but I also have a technique for reading faster and turning insight into action, that I’ll share in a future post, if there’s interest.
What makes this list special is that it’s based on accumulated knowledge over time and applying various leadership books at work, to real problems. I find out about many of the most effective books to try based on asking colleagues what books they use to get results. So it’s like distilled wisdom of the crowds. My main measure for the books is what problems they solve, what insights they have, and how actionable they are.
I put the list in A-Z format, so that you can quickly scan and compare the list to your existing leadership books. I stripped out the descriptions of the books because it significantly bulked up the list. I may add some terse descriptions back in, but I’m not sure yet. The main value is having a list of useful leadership books organized A-Z, with what’s new up front, followed by a vital few.
When I think of leadership, I think of vision, forward-thinking, clarity, decision-making, connection and conviction, networking, driving results, empowerment, confidence, influence, impact, etc. With that in mind, it’s an eclectic set including timeless classics as well as some of the latest leadership books.
You’ll most likely recognize many of the books, but hopefully, many you won’t. For example, if you don’t know Emotional Capitalists, it’s one of the best books I know that distills Emotional Intelligence down into pragmatic and actionable insight. If you don’t know Get Them On Your Side, it’s an systematic process for making change happen, from both a people and a system perspective. If you don’t know Flawless Execution, it includes a 12-point approach for creating a sharing a vision, based on military approaches, but that you can apply for your business or team.
Browse my leadership books collection and if you have a favorite leadership-oriented book I should know about, please let me know. I’m always expanding my library and I consider this a living list of leadership books.
One of the main things Sources of Insight, my personal effectiveness blog, draws from is books, people, and quotes. By drawing from books, people, and quotes, you can leverage the wisdom of the ages and stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s a recipe for results.
When it comes to effectiveness, I find that there’s a big gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice. The way to bridge the gap is to turn insight into action and continuously learn and test both timeless patterns and practices, as well as emerging practices. Whether it’s a model, a map, a lens, a principle, a pattern, a practice, or a technique, all these distinctions help you build your personal knowledge base of profound knowledge. Knowledge alone isn’t enough though. It' takes action. Nothing beats applied research and you need the wisdom that comes from the rubber meeting the road.
To help share the information, I’ve created three focused pages on Sources of Insight:
I’ve also created a Resources hub to share some key resources, such as Free E-Books and Free Productivity Training. If you do stop by, be sure to grab your free copy of You 2.0. It’s a very special guide to helping you find your core and build a firm foundation. It’s very simple to flip through, but if you do the exercises, you might find that they are exactly what you need to find your way forward. It’s all about helping you unfold and unleash a better version of yourself.
The MSDN Library is the primary showcase of our Microsoft product documentation. It’s a treasure trove of gems. The problem is, if you don’t know where to look, sometimes finding the documentation you’re looking for can be a challenge. Part of your success hinges on finding the right information, so let’s see what we can do about that.
I put together a mockup of the MSDN Library Home for the MSDN Library team as an example of one way to showcase some key starting points for some popular technologies on the MSDN Library Home. Here is the model:
Here are some key points about the model:
Special Thanks … Special thanks to the following people for helping me find the main starting points and put the frame together: Alik Levin, Eric Peterson, Jesse Liberty, Joe Stagner, Jon Galloway, Paul Enfield, Pete Brown, Rey Bango, Rob Boucher, Sam Landstrom, Scott Hanselman, Tim Teebken, Wade Pickett
If you have thoughts on the model, send my way.
As Ward Cunningham taught me, the value of patterns is simply having a shared language for sharing strategies. I would add though, that “visual” is key … visual languages change the game.
I’m very much a fan of pragmatic patterns. Here are some of my lessons learned for making patterns more useful. I recommend keeping patterns super simple and contextualized. Here’s what I’ve learned …
I also recommend …
Pattern Languages as Maps of the Space Below is an example of Enterprise Solution Pattern using a map to express it as a pattern language in a brutally simple way…
Patterns when done well are actually the short-cut to sharing expertise for a given domain.
This is a story of a person, who started a new chapter in their life. They decided to follow their dream and write their story forward.
Meet Alik Levin. Talk about changing your life. Earlier this year, Alik came to the U.S. with his family in search of his dream job. Not only did he land his job, but he's been making amazing impact on his new team and driving change in powerful ways. He's in his element and truly unleashed. Alik is now a successful Microsoft programming writer. He's living his passion while he’s helping customers succeed on our platform, by sharing success patterns with customers around the world.
Every now and then, somebody does something that just blows your mind. I've known Alik for a long time, but When Alik first told me that he was coming to the U.S. to find a job and make his dreams happen, I was in disbelief. It was the type of thing you read about or watch in the movies, but to see it unfold right before my eyes was nothing short of spectacular. You see, this was not a story of somebody simply hopping from one mountain peak to another. It was a story of personal triumph. I got to watch Alik climb a mountain from scratch, based on his conviction and courage for a better life. Watching him uproot his family and start a new life, in this new world, has been one of the most amazing transformations I’ve seen in a long time.
While I'm happy that the story had a happy ending, and a wonderful new beginning, I'm truly proud of this guy. In a world of turbulence, he decided to take the bull by the horns and live life on his terms. He's no shadow of his former self. Instead, he is a model for leading a life of action and making the most of what he’s got. He truly is the author of his life. Wow.
You can imagine how ecstatic I was when Alik offered to share his story of how he uses Getting Results the Agile Way, as his secret weapon for getting results ...
You can find the original video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2creyf13eVI. If you know somebody who needs a lift in their day, feel free to share Alik’s story with them. It just might make their day. I know a lot of people who could use a shoulder to lean on or a helping hand, or even just a story of hope.
I significantly revamped the Getting Results Knowledge Base this past weekend. The Knowledge Base (KB) is a rich collection of principles, patterns, and practices for getting better, faster, simpler results. It’s the companion to my book on getting results, Getting Results the Agile Way, which is a personal results system for work and life.
The strategy is to have a “thin guide” + “thick KB”. The guide is the size of a thin playbook, while the KB is a growing repository of checklists, templates, step-by-step How Tos, etc.
Features of the Knowledge Base The KB is designed to be easy to browse, and has the following features:
Topics Here are some of the topics addressed in the Getting Results Knowledge Base:
I know I drove some people crazy asking them for feedback to improve the usability, but I think it paid off. While the KB has a long ways to go, I think it’s a strong foundation to build on.
I included a lot of visuals in my book Getting Results the Agile Way. You can easily browse and share the visuals from the Getting Results Knowledge Base. I’m a fan of turning information into visuals where possible. I think this helps share mental models faster, and once you have a mental model for something, it makes learning about it faster and easier. Getting Results the Agile Way is a personal results system for work and life, so the visuals tend to be about time management, focus, motivation, etc.
Example – Conceptual Framework for Getting Results the Agile Way This image is a conceptual map of the framework behind the system:
Browse the visuals and take a visual tour of Getting Results the Agile Way.
I’ve originally shared this in other places and other ways, but I’m consolidating here to make it easier to share a link. As more teams ask me about Customer-Connected Engineering (CCE), it’s easier to just point them here for a quick overview.
Customer Connected Engineering is a practice we’ve used across our patterns & practices teams for engaging customers throughout the life cycle. We involved customers during the planning, development, and release of our deliverables. Basically, it’s a way of baking customers into the product and project cycle. This is a slide set that shares how we’ve done Customer Connected Engineering inside patterns & practices, including our key practices and guiding principles.
Developer Guidance Maps are treasure maps and guided tours of our developer content collections. They are consolidated and organized views of content collections spanning Channel9, MSDN Developer Centers, MSDN Library, Code Gallery, CodePlex, the All-in-One Code Framework, www.ASP.net, www.Silverlight.net, WindowsClient.net, etc. I’m creating these as part of our “IA” effort. One of the things I’ve been tasked with is creating an IA, or "information architecture," for the developer guidance ecosystem at Microsoft. As part of that effort, I have to map out what we already have as well as identify the various sources of content and clearing houses. Rather than simply do this behind the scenes, I’ve decided to share the maps with you as I go so that you benefit … thus Developer Guidance Maps were born.
Each map basically provides a map of the technology (common categories, features, scenarios), sources of where to look for key content, a Getting Started section of content, an Architecture and Design section of content, and then extensive content collections for Code Samples, How Tos, Videos, and Training, organized by scenarios and common tasks.
Benefits of Developer Guidance Maps
Developer Guidance Maps Available for Download Here is a roundup of the current Developer Guidance Maps:
Mental Model for the Maps Here is a simple mental model for the Developer Guidance Maps:
The Approach Rather than boil the ocean, I’ve used a systematic and repeatable approach. I’ve focused on common categories and features for key technologies and simple content types. Here is how we prioritized our focus:
The Maps are Works in Progress Keep in mind these maps are works in progress and they help us pressure test our simple information architecture (“Simple IA”) for developer guidance at Microsoft. Creating the maps also helps me test the model, create a catalog of developer guidance, and easily find the gaps and opportunities. While the maps are incomplete, they may help you find content and sources of content that you didn’t even know existed. For example, the All-In-One Code Framework has more than 450 code examples that cover 24 Microsoft development technologies such as Windows Azure, Windows 7, Silverlight, etc. … and the collection grows by six samples per week.
Here’s another powerful usage scenario. Use the maps as a template to create your own map for a particular technology. By creating a map or catalog of content for a specific technology, and organizing it by topic, feature, and content type, you can dramatically speed up your ability to map out a space and leverage existing knowledge. (… and you can share your maps with a friend ;)
My Related Posts
If you’re interested in development with the Microsoft Windows Phone, this map is for you. Microsoft has an extensive collection of developer guidance available in the form of Code Samples, How Tos, Videos, and Training. The challenge is -- how do you find all of the various content collections? … and part of that challenge is knowing *exactly* where to look. This is where the map comes in. It helps you find your way around the online jungle and gives you short-cuts to the treasure troves of available content.
The Windows Phone Developer Guidance Map helps you kill a few birds with one stone:
Download the Windows Phone Developer Guidance Map
Contents at a Glance
Mental Model of the Map The map is a simple collection of content types from multiple sources, organized by common tasks, common topics, and Windows Phone features:
Special Thanks … Special thanks to Adam Grocholski, Allison Kent, Constanze Roman, Dan Reagan, Dragos Manolescu, Georgia Pettigrove, Kevin Lam, Mark Chamberlain, Paul Enfield, Pete Brown, Srinivas Iragavarapu, and Will Clevenger for helping me find and round up our various content collections.
Enjoy and share the map with a friend.
If you’re interested in Microsoft data access (ADO.NET, Entity Framework, etc.), this map is for you. Microsoft has an extensive collection of developer guidance available in the form of Code Samples, How Tos, Videos, and Training. The challenge is -- how do you find all of the various content collections? … and part of that challenge is knowing *exactly* where to look. This is where the map comes in. It helps you find your way around the online jungle and gives you short-cuts to the treasure troves of available content.
The Windows ADO.NET Developer Guidance Map helps you kill a few birds with one stone:
Download the ADO.NET Developer Guidance Map
Mental Model of the Map The map is a simple collection of content types from multiple sources, organized by common tasks, common topics, and ADO.NET features:
Special Thanks … Special thanks to Chris Sells, Diego Dagum, Mechele Gruhn, Paul Enfield, and Tobin Titus for helping me find and round up our various content collections.
If you’re a Windows Azure developer or you want to learn Windows Azure, this map is for you. Microsoft has an extensive collection of developer guidance available in the form of Code Samples, How Tos, Videos, and Training. The challenge is -- how do you find all of the various content collections? … and part of that challenge is knowing *exactly* where to look. This is where the map comes in. It helps you find your way around the online jungle and gives you short-cuts to the treasure troves of available content.
The Windows Azure Developer Guidance Map helps you kill a few birds with one stone:
Download the Windows Azure Developer Guidance Map
Mental Model of the Map The map is a simple collection of content types from multiple sources, organized by common tasks, common topics, and Windows Azure features:
Special Thanks … Special thanks to David Aiken, James Conard, Mike Tillman, Paul Enfield, Rob Boucher, Ryan Dunn, Steve Marx, Terri Schmidt, and Tobin Titus for helping me find and round up our various content collections.
Code Sample Collections are a simple way to gather, organize, and share code samples. Rather than a laundry list, each collection is organized by a set of common categories for that specific technology. The collections of code samples are created by mapping out the existing code samples from various sources including MSDN Library, Code Gallery, Channel9, and CodePlex.
Here is a roundup of my most recent Code Sample Collections:
The Microsoft Windows Phone Code Samples Collection is a roundup and map of Windows Phone code samples from various sources including the MSDN library, Code Gallery, CodePlex, and Microsoft Support.
You can add to the Windows Phone code examples collection by sharing in the comments or emailing me atFeedbackAndThoughts at live.com.
Common Categories for Windows Phone Code Samples The Windows Phone Code Samples Collection is organized using the following categories:
Windows Phone Code Samples Collection
Application Bar *
Control Tilt Effect *
Data Access *
Globalization and Localization *
Location Service *
Panorama / Pivot *
Settings Page *
Splash Screen *
WebBrowser Control *
Web Services *
* Download links were updated on 9/24/2012