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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soft Skills Book Series – Getting Things Done

Or as I like to call it.. “The reason I got organized enough to actually do this series”.

I’m going to do something a little odd here.  I am going to discuss a book I haven’t finished yet.  But the reason I’m going to do so is that even though I am only half way through this book with a bit of help from Patrick Rhone I was able to take the basic ideas and do an initial implementation of them using Backpack.  As I continue to read I find ways to improve that implementation but for the most part my initial implementation seems to be standing up so far.

Personally I’ve got a ton of things I’d like to get around to eventually.  The problem was that eventually has a habit of being never.  In fact this blog series is a perfect example.  I’d been asked quite awhile ago to discuss soft skill books I have found value in and only now am I doing it.  And funny enough my implementation of the ideas of this book is the very reason for it getting done.

Getting Things Done is written for people (like myself) who have a lot of ideas but spend more time worrying about them then working on them.  I find that the average project I work on is so large that I just end up thrashing by thinking and re-thinking the project.  I never actually sit down and do it.  Between this book and Backpack I feel like I have a lot more control over my life and the things I want to do in it.  I no longer stress about the millions of little details.  Instead I have specific times where I sit down and get control over the projects I want to do.  After that it’s a simple matter of picking which project I want to spend some time on and doing so.

As I mentioned before I’m not actually done the book at this point.  As I read more I am learning ways to improve various aspects of my project planning and implementation skills.  With that said I fully expect the rest of the book to provide as much value as the first half did.  I give this book a strong buy recommendation for anyone who has more then 7 things on their mind (aka everyone who is reading this).

Soft Skills Book Series

As a believer in the principles of the ALT.NET movement I believe in continuous analysis of myself and how I am doing my job.  Over time this and discussions with other have lead me to believe that as time progresses one of the most fundamental abilities a Software Developer needs to have is the ability to deal with people.  This concept called “Soft Skills” has become critical to us in our daily work. 

Now the problem for me is that like a lot of developers out there I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fountain of soft skill information.  With that in mind I started to gather a list of books that I felt could help me in my goal of improving my soft skills.  Recently I was asked to share this list and so I started to try to create a single blog post that would do so.  I’ve come to realize that this was either going to lead to a massive blog post that nobody in their right mind would ever read, or I would have to limit myself greatly in discussing each book. 

With that in mind I’ve instead decided that this discussion is better served through a series of blog posts where I can try and discuss each book and the value I’ve gained from it (if any).  I plan on keeping each post fairly short and this post is starting to break that goal so I’m going to end it and get started on my first book post.



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