One of my favourite books I have read is ‘Joy, Inc’. It is a book written by Richard Sheridan a cofounder of Menlo Innovations and shows how they have developed a company that focuses on Joy.
To Menlo, joy is designing and building something that actually sees the light of day and is enjoyably used and widely adopted by the people for whom it was intended. The book goes through the extreme programming practices that Richard adopted to deliver joyful products to customers that meet their needs. It is not just a book on practices but on how they adopted them and shaped them. It is a real life success story of implementing a Lean / Agile approach to software development. This is in strong contrast to just implementing scrum or kanban. It is how they made it part of their culture, their way of working, which resulted in a Joyful organisation and software that met the needs of the customers. Anyone wanting to move from a waterfall approach of delivering software to an agile/lean approach or anyone who is starting up a bimodal approach to delivering software should read this book. It is truly inspirational and one of the best books on how to deliver products that are in line with the customer and are built by engaged individuals.
The book covers the following topics:
My Journey to Joy – This first chapter gives a history of Richard and how he progressed into Joy.
Space and Noise – Explains how they shaped the layout of their space and how traditional layouts inhibit Joy.
Freedom to Learn – Details how they tore down towers of knowledge and built sustainable systems through pair programming.
Conversations, Rituals, and Artifacts – Goes through some of their practices such as standups, show and tells, planning meetings etc.
Interviewing, Hiring, and Onboarding – Covers their unique and amazing practice for hiring individuals.
The Power of Observation – Talks about personas and the role of the high-tech anthropologists.
Fight Fear, Embrace Change – Covers the cost of fear and the cost of not challenging earlier.
Growing Leaders, Not Bosses – Eliminating hierarchy, trusting the team and allowing the team to make the decisions.
End Chaos, Eliminate Ambiguity – How they work and the process they work to.
Rigor, Discipline, Quality – Heroes rely on risky heroics, great teams rely on discipline. Deliver regularly.
Sustainability and Flexibility – Having a humane workplace.
Scalability – How their practices allow them to scale up and down easily.
Accountability and Results – Circular accountability and showcasing your work.
Alignment – Align the worlds outside perception of your company with your inside reality.
Problems – They still are not prefect and have issues, but these issues are not hidden and are transparent so change can exist.
Stepping into Joy – Practical steps for taking this way.