Index ¦ Archives ¦ Atom

Links and books for an effective workplace in IT

There are books about the workplace (and articles) that I really like. Disclaimer: I do not endorse that these be applied blindly in any workplace, nor should any of them be used to bash people over the head with. Life is more complicated than books, and management is tough. However, taken with a grain of salt, I find the links and books listed below useful.


In no specific order Peopleware by Tom DeMarco Slack by Tom DeMarco The Mythical Man-Month The Phoenix Project How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Time Management for System Administrators Nonviolent Communication


Sorted by writer/site/style of writing.


Cracked is equal parts a huge timesink and equal parts useful. The writers are usually thoughtful and moderately funny.

David Wong

David Wong is the Executive Editor of and a NYT bestselling author.

What is the Monkeysphere?

How Mediocrity Can Quietly Destroy Us All

6 Reasons Good People Turn Into Monsters

9 Types of Job that Will Destroy Your Soul

5 Ways You're Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You

7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable

Your Brain Needs Silence (And Probably Isn’t Getting It)

The angry guys

Their writing style might seem a bit angry, but their arguments are sound. Highly recommend not getting offended by anything here: These guys are describing a strawman company ( or a Silicon Valley hellscape).

Ted Dziuba

All of his writing is worth looking at. Milo was a startup that was sold to eBay, since it was really good at local searches. The high-intensity style is characteristic of some of the best programmers (especially for beginners) since the no-BS attitude doesn't tolerate unneccessary complexity.

Dirty words

TL;DR it is easy to fake kidness: anger usually speaks truth.

Context Switches are Bad, but Stack Traces are Worse

Experienced engineers really, really like quiet. It's one of the most desired features of a workplace, which is why remote work is awesome. Don't ping us every 10 minutes, and it would be nice if we were shielded from interruptions.

Break My Concentration and I Break Your Kneecaps

Quiet is essential for mental work. It also reduces the number of mistakes made by employees. For a study proving this, see the book "Peopleware". Prefer non-blocking communication whenever possible.

Who Needs Process?

Key takeaway:

Unfortunately, policies and procedures irritate top performers, and are just more grievances
on their list that will some day metastasize into a resignation letter.
(Side note: if someone keeps such a list, there's a high probability they are a top performer.) 
When you do hire, do it carefully. Really carefully. ... More careful than that.
At Milo, we do "trial periods", where we invite a candidate to work with us for a few days
so we can judge their work. Here's a really simple trial period task: make this thing better
 Use your judgment and your programming skills, just make it better.
This will keep a common vision in your team.

Why Engineers Hop Jobs

Basic sanity check, though a bit harsh. I think Schlock Mercenary puts it best in Maxim 7:

If the food is good enough the grunts will stop complaining about the incoming fire.

How I Spot Valuable Engineers

Most Programming Interviews are a Waste of Time

30 Helens Agree: You Can't Win Without Failing

Key takeaway:

What I really learned from the fall of Pressflip is that arrogance is more dangerous than incompetence. 

Monitoring Theory

A lot of grief at a sysadmin job is caused by misconfigured alerts.


© Bruno Henc. Built using Pelican. Theme by Giulio Fidente on github.