Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development ManagersLean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers by Mary Poppendieck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is probably the best book on management of software development that I have read so far. I appreciate that Poppendiecks propagate the principles and certain mind-set and not some specific methods for agile development. The best of all, I see from my own work that many of these principles do work if properly followed and communicated to the rest of the team and to the clients.

Examples from the lean production are not always very illuminating, yet sometimes provoke interesting analogies.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering


The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book which is considered to be classics for the software development management - very much quoted and referred to. Although many of the claims and concepts are quite dated, the main principles are well adaptable to the nowadays world. I particularly liked the general discussions of what is the software engineering on meta-level - with all its joys and pitfalls. Brooks explains very well inherent complexity of managing software development projects - understanding where the complexity lies is probably the first step to effectively manage it.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Bicycle as a vehicle of urban revolution

Today I participated in a great community-driven social experiment under name Tipp d'Und. Hundreds of cyclists were riding alongside the cars in Tallinn city centre in a rush hour - in pre-agreed time and area. There were clear rules and cyclists greeted each other. After that all of these people (along with their bicycles) gathered in a single place for a short moment to celebrate it.

In these 30-40 minutes that I was riding along with hundreds of other people, Tallinn streets felt much more like some people-friendly Swedish/Swiss town. Slowly but steadily, I see Tallinn becoming more and more pleasant urban space to live (and move around) in.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Review: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been a very enjoyable reading. On one hand, the biographical details of Genghis Khan and his successors which are interesting to follow. On the other hand, description of broad implications of Mongols' conquest for the Eurasian history.

There are definitely plenty of things most of the readers would find enlightening, when reading this book. Novel warfare tactics and good leadership lessons, importance of commerce and cultural/religious tolerance, family intrigues and fight for power.

The only thing I did not find necessary were numerous didactic reminders of how little appreciated the true Mongols' history has been and how great was Mongol empire compared to Middle Age Europe.

And well... the book describes destruction of many historical relics from the Great Mongol Empire by Communist Soviets - why am I not surprised?..

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared

Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared
Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared by Christopher Robbins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a person who lived and travelled around Kazakhstan for a year, I found this book highly familiar, educating and hillarious. Robbins has a great talent of going from small but significant details he had observed to the broad perspective on the history, economics and societal development of the country. I particulalrly enjoyed biographical accounts of people related to Kazakhstan, such as Trotsky, Solzhenitsyn, Nazarbayev, even Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Robbins manages to bring out controversies related to both all these individuals as well as the country as a whole.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: The Demise of 20th Century Selling & the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed

Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: The Demise of 20th Century Selling & the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed
Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: The Demise of 20th Century Selling & the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed by Mahan Khalsa

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book on consultative sales for services. The main messages of the book are good: start with the intent of selling, leave your ego behind, focus on relationships, don't be afraid to go for "No".

However, as most of U.S. books of such kind, it builds up a fancy methodology and attaches a catchy title (I think the title of the book is quite unfortunate) to some essentially simple truths.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Review: First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Probably the best management book I have read. Its message is quite simple but powerful: treat everyone individually. Great managers find individual talents and focus on giving an opportunity to develop these talents - they don't waste time on trying to fix weaknesses. Great managers "let people be more of what they are".

The fact that the book is based on many years of research data add to the credibility of this powerful message - and distinguishes it from many other self-help business books with catchy titles.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Impressions from Copenhagen and East England

I have recently had a chance to visit Copenhagen (Denmark) and three cities in the East England (Norwich, Cambridge and Hatfield).

Copenhagen: as the last time I was there, I was most impressed by how much of a paradise for cyclists this city is. Bicycles and cars co-exist very well. Thanks to the fact that so many people ride bicycles every day, there is less digestion, less noise pollution and less traffic jams in the city - a true win-win situation (also for the car drivers who get quicker to where they have to).

Copenhagen | CC Deniss R. Ojastu 2013
With its vast park areas, interesting modern architecture, appealing culture and well functioning business environment, Copenhagen is definitely one of the cities I could imagine myself living for a longer period.

Copenhagen | CC Deniss R. Ojastu 2013
East England: as could be expected from the UK, the weather was mostly cloudy with the light rain showers time-to-time. Nevertheless, it was great to visit three different smaller towns in the UK. Not a big fan of large cities like London, I was enjoying walking down the medieval streets of Norwich and Cambridge.

Norwich | CC Deniss R. Ojastu 2013
Extremely polite Englishmen, beautiful English language, centuries-old buildings of the University of Cambridge - as well as some interesting professional insights I've got from this trip - those are perhaps the highlights of my second visit to England.

Part of the main building of the University of Cambridge  | CC Deniss R. Ojastu 2013
Some day, I would like to visit more of the historical English towns - travelling around the country and staying in the different classical hotels like this time.

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