I just finished the book Inside Steve's Brain, good book specially if you like Apple products like me. One tip about this book is not read the final notes of each chapter, mostly they are shallow summaries out of context.
The book detail some decisions and modus operandi of Steve Jobs that I personally found very interesting, first because in most of times I agree (in my humble opinion), and secondly because it works, for everyone who knows about the computer market can see that some actions made by him are "default" on computer industry nowadays. Here some points made in the book:
- Small and good teams
- Every one involved from beginning to end
- Avoid the "more features" trap, keep it simple
- Prototype a lot
- Keep focused, your user is the focus, but he/she doesn't know what really want
Small and good teams
Probably is no news the that any team has to be assembled with good professionals, and adding more people don't help. And big teams will suffer with the
n(n-1)/2 rule for communication channels, if your team is too big probably there's isn't a single view of what should be done.
Everyone involved from begin to end
Well, the schema software engineers make the software, the designers the design, the marketing people the marketing and so on, doesn't work. In fact, I really believe that didn't work forever. Just ask yourself, in any point of your profession if people told you the big picture, not all the business plan, but a little more, things would be done differently? Maybe a focus on modularity here and there, or a external configuration system or similar stuff. Probably, in my case, things will need less duct tape if a more broad view is attached with the requirements.
Avoid the more features trap, keep it simple
Prototype a lot
I believe this is a true way to get good products. No body will get it right on the first shot specially on a complex system. Software Prototyping is a valid approach in development, but it seems that in Apple every part of a product is prototyped. In case you're not convinced, they even prototyped the Apple Store.
Keep focused, your user is the focus, but he/she doesn't know what really want
Nobody will disagree that focus is important, but some will disagree that consumers don't know what they want. I'm part of a group that believes consumers (users in my case) feel what they want but are incapable of expressing it correctly, why? Because they don't know the tools you have, the possibilities you have in hand to build something. Is more safe to think they can feel a good experience and tell you "I'm really comfortable using this software", than "I need a check box here, a list there and etc."
People are subject to the Paradox of Choice and it seems that Steve Jobs knows this very well.
This is just a glimpse of what I learned from the book, somethings reinforced my convictions others made me think. It's a very light reading and a good book for whom works in this area or not.