I’ve spent some time recently working much more closely with the 37 Signals product BaseCamp (more about that another day).
Whilst looking over the company website I stumbled upon their ‘book’ Getting Real. It’s an easy read that really gives you a comprehensive picture of the culture at 37 Signals. It’s also full of some fantastic ideas many of which present a fresh viewpoint on the process of product development. I would recommend people to read it.
The authors admit that the book’s emphasis is on building a web application but do suggest that ‘a lot of these ideas are applicable to non-software activities too.’
I’d add that I feel the book’s emphasis is on building mass market web applications, some of their ideas in the chapter on Feature Selection (’Start With No’, ‘Forget Feature Requests’) might not be perfect advice in a more specialist or niche field.
Is that the point of this type of book – to provoke debate and ask questions on how you do things whilst presenting a smorgasbord of ideas from which you can create your own way of working? If that’s the case then there is always the risk that the reader will cherry pick the ideas that reflect their current state and achieve no improvement in the way they develop products…