New O’Reilly book: Beautiful Teams

There’s a new book, soon to be released from O’Reilly called Beautiful teams, edited by Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene that i want to give you a heads up about.

I’m a huge believer in teams. Team sports. Team players. Team leaders. It’s all about teams. Show me a great project and I’ll show you a good, or not totally sucking team. Show me a project in trouble and the first questions I’ll ask won’t be about methods, schedules or technologies, I’ll ask about the team.

I’m also someone who hates bullshit. Who gets frustrated by phony stories about made up concepts on how good teams are nurtured and how great teams function. I want the real stories from the people who were there. I want the dirt. I want the scars. I want it all.

So I’m thrilled to tell you O’Reilly is finally publishing a book on teams, with chapters from two dozen luminaries from the software world, on what they learned from the teams they worked on. Tim O’Reilly, Cory Doctorow, Grady Booch, Steve McConnell, Barry Boehm, Karl Fogel, Johanna Rothman, the list of kick-ass names who contributed to this book goes on.

The book is called Beautiful teams: Inspiring and Cautionary Tales from Veteran Team Leaders.

I was lucky enough to be asked to make two contributions to the book. A chapter about my experience on IE4 called “Why Ugly Teams Win”, and an extended interview with Steve McConnell about good teams and how they’re made.

As a kicker, profits from the book aren’t going to contributors, they’re going to charity – Playpumps International to be specific.

You can pre-order the book now at

3 Responses to “New O’Reilly book: Beautiful Teams”

  1. Nik

    Why zebras on the cover? Not crocodiles, lions or ants for example.

  2. Scott

    Nik: You’d have ask Andrew & Jennifer. I quite like the cover actually.

  3. Andrew Stellman

    It’s funny. One of the draft covers had a giant bee on a flower, but we nixed that because it’s weirdly sexual. Another one had a clownfish and an anemone, but I think there were licensing issues with it (even though we really did like it).

    The zebras — well, we do love the zebras. Personally, I think zebras are cool. But zebra turns apparently do make very good teams… and it’s visually a great cover, in my opinion. You definitely want to have a cover on a bookshelf that stands out.

    The O’Reilly design folks were the ones who actually came up with the various cover options. We were lucky that they’re talented, and came up with a cover that we really like. (Jenny and I both like it better than any of our other book covers!)



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