Rework

Publié le 05/10/2019

Une petite revue rapide du livre Rework de Jason Fried et David Heinemeier Hanson (surtout connu pour avoir sorti Ruby on Rails et Basecamp. La méthode de travail proposée tend surtout vers la satisfaction du client (et du développeur 😛), en gardant la simplicité, l'honnêteté, la transparence et la facilité de changement en ligne de mire.

Tout comme pour d'autres revues techniques, je reprends surtout des passages qui m'ont marqués ou intéressés, accompagnés de quelques idées, sans plus.

En première instance, certains passages tendent à un peu passer pour "putaclic". Quand il écrit que les meetings are toxic, cela ne signifie pas qu'il n'en faut pas: cela signifie que s'ils sont mal cadrés, ils peuvent rapidement devenir l'antithèse de ce qu'ils devraient être.

Dans l'ensemble, il s'agit de petits mantras visant un idéal accessible et réalisable. Ils tendent à éviter la surcomplication que l'on trouve en entreprise, où la toxicité de certaines personnalités peut mener aux départs de personnes essentielles (bon... personne n'est indispensable... Mais ça nous fera sérieusement ch** pendant plusieurs mois!).

What you do is what matters

What you do is what matters. Until you are actually making something, anything that you think or say or plan, your brilliant idea is just that: an idea.

En bref: mettez-vous au travail et sortez quelque chose, même si ce n'est pas parfait/adéquat/joli/... Tant que cela restera sur un coin de table, dans un carnet ou sur un post-it, ce ne sera jamais rien d'autre qu'une idée. Et si quelqu'un d'autre arrive à mettre cette idée en place, inutile de venir avec "Oui, mais j'y avais pensé avant".

Get creative and you'll be amazed at what you can make with just as little. [...]. So, before you sing the "not enough" blues, see how far you can get with what you have. -- p. 67.

... qui rejoint le passage ci-dessus: get to work (juste pour voir)! 😛 Quand j'ai du mal à me lancer sur un sujet, une idée est aussi d'essayer pendant "cinq minutes. Et je vois après si je continue ou non". Généralement, j'y reste une heure ou deux, ce qui me permet d'arriver à un résultat.

Blindly copying things is usually nefarious; you skip understanding, and understanding is how you grow. (p. 135) -> Don't copy! Be influenced, but don't steal.

Simplicité de la solution

Good enough is fine: problems can always be solved with a simple solution. You just build something that gets the job done and then move away. When good enough gets the job done, go for it. It's way better than wasting resources, or even worse, doing nothing because you can't afford the complexe solutions. -- p. 112

This is the first thing you should worry about: "If I take this away, would what I'm doing still exists?" (p. 72)

Details make the difference, but they should be ignored in the first place. Nail the basic first and worry about the specific later. (p. 85)

Questions (p. 100-102):

  • Why are we doing this ?
  • What problem are we solving ?
  • Is this actually useful ?
  • Are you adding value ?
  • Will this change behavior ?
  • Is there an easier way ?
  • What could you be doing instead ?
  • Is it really worth it ?

Divide stuffs into smaller problems, until you're able to deal with them. Simply rearranging your tasks this way can have an amazing impact on productivity and motivation. -- p. 127

Do less than your competitors: solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to someone else. Advantages: less maintenance, cheaper, lighter. Some things win fans just because they only do simple things and do it well. -- p. 144

Focus on you instead of them. What's the point of worriying for things you don't control ? Focus on your competitors and you'll become reactionary instead of visionary (p. 147). Even if you win up losing, it's better to go down fighting for what you belive in instead of of just imitating others.

Let your latest ideas cool off for a while first. It avoid confusing enthusiasm with priority. Let write them down and park them for a few days. Then, evaluate their actual priority with calm mind. (p. 159)

Transparence

If anything goes bad, tell it. Don't hide it under the rug. People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public and responsive during a crisis. "No comment is not an option". (p. 231)

"What do you gain when you ban employees from visiting a social network or Youtube ? Nothing. That time doesn't magically convert to work. They will just find some other diversion." (p. 255) Look at the cost and you quickly realize that failing to trust your employees is awfully expensive.

Everything is marketing: sending email, aswering the phone, error message, invoicing, every word you write, every time someone use your product. (p. 193)

Personnalité

"If no one is upset by what you are saying, you're probably not pushing hard enough." -- p. 49

Say no by default. Deal with the brief discomfort of confrontation up front and avoid the long-term regrets. Just be honest.

Organisation

Less mass: long term contracts, excess staff, permanent decisions meeting, thick process, inventory, long term road maps, office politics, ... Avoid these whenever you can. The more expensive it is to make a change, the less likely you are to make it. -- p. 62

Do it yourself first: never hire anyone to do a job until you've tried to do it yourself first. That allows you to :

  • Understand how it works,
  • for a better supervision
  • for a better management.

Ce passage-ci rejoint un autre extrait, où "We run with the ball as far we could before handing it off. That way, we knew what we were looking for [once we did decide to hire]". (p. 201).

Meetings are toxic (p. 108):

  • Set a timer
  • Invite as few people as possible
  • Always have a clean agenda
  • Begin with a specific problem
  • Meet at the site of the problem and not in a conference room
  • End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementing it.

Make tiny decisions. They are simpler to change, as the more steam you put into going in one direction, the harder is is to change. "Small decisions" = "no big penalties if you mess up". And you can accomplish these things and build on. Then you get goind to the next one. -- p. 130

Build an audience :

  • Tweet, tag, make videos, speak, write, whatever.
  • Out-teach the competition
  • Write cookbooks - tell other people about how you operate - informative, educational and promotions.

It's ok if it's not perfect - you might not seem as professional, but you will seem a lot more genuine. (p. 183)

Decisions are temporary. Don't make up problems you don't have yet. It's not a problem until it's a real problem. Most of the things you worry about never happen anyway. [...] pay attention to today and worry about later when it gets here, otherwise you'll waster energy, time and money, fixation on problems that may never materialize. (p. 251)

Bonus

"If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know" (p. 258)