Dreaming in Code

Ansel Adams wrote, "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept." And such is the case with the Chandler project. After four years of development, they have delivered only a 0.6 release with no general availability in sight.

In Dreaming in Code, author Scott Rosenberg follows a group of programmers tasked with creating a new product over a three-year stint. Along the way the book explores disciplines in development (and the lack of), the history of computing (particularly its truths and folklore), and explains why software engineering isn't a science but an art. A common misconception even among developers is that software is similar to construction when, as becomes clear in the book, developing software is more like cooking. Programming methodologies are as plentiful as cookbooks but both are limited by the realities of artistry. A chef can make miracles from a pantry full of ingredients; a cook cannot.

If you're involved with a development team as a product manager or marketer, there is much here that will illuminate your team's dysfunction. Rosenberg reintroduces us to concepts that have been known since The Mythical Man Month and The Soul of a New Machine but apparently not understood, remembered, or believed. Strongly recommended.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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