Remote in Russian. New book from 37signals
If the names “Rework” and “37signals” are well known to you, then a little holiday has come on your street - most recently their new book “Remote: Office Not Required” was published in Russian (in the Russian edition - “Remote: Office is not required”) . The book is available both in print and in electronic version.
37signals is the creator of the Ruby on Rails framework, several project management tools (of which Basecamp is best known), and several best-selling books ( Rework and Getting Real) on the principles of building a successful development company. A year ago, their new book was announced on the benefits and organization of remote work - its announcement skippedon Habré. Remote appeared on the shelves of Western stores in the fall, so many have already managed to read it in the original language - including the founder of Habrahabr, Denis Kryuchkov, who gave her a brief positive assessment .
Since then, 37signals managed to rename to Basecamp(in order to increase the recognition of the company, they named themselves after their most successful product), and this week “Remote: Office is not required” finally appeared on sale in Russian. I didn’t have time for the original, so, having waited on a sunny Saturday morning, I went to the bookstore and after a couple of hours plunged into reading in an electric train. There were no fears about the Russian edition: the publishing house of business literature Mann-Ivanov-Ferber, who issued our previous bestseller 37signals - Rework, again took up the matter . On my bookshelf this book has long occupied a place of honor; here with Remote, the story repeated itself - the original design of the book was completely preserved, wonderful illustrations are back in place, a high-quality translation is attached - however, another was not expected from the MIF.
“ The future has already arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed, ”
This wonderful epigraph of the famous American science fiction writer set the tone for the whole action. The creators of Remote from the first pages set themselves the difficult task of proving that remote work is beneficial for both the employer and the employee, while revealing the practical side of the matter. And the further you plunge into their new work, the more you catch yourself thinking that the book is the first step into a new, still uncharted territory in the field of the theory of the organization of labor of IT specialists, which McConnell had previously risked entering. Their task is doubly complicated because they have to overcome the collective negative burden of experience working with freelancers and outsourcers; the authors immediately distance themselves from them, arguing that a properly organized remote work is completely, completely different.
The book begins with a description of the benefits of working remotely on daily trips to the office (to the credit of 37signals, there are also warning remarks about the possible disadvantages of each of these advantages). Having finished with a description of the paradise of the new life, the book, laughing truly devilishly, is trying to tear to shreds each of the popular arguments of the authorities against remote work. How applicable are its evidence in real life? .. I find it difficult to answer; here you still need to make a discount on the mentality - nevertheless, remote work implies willpower and responsibility, but from my own experience I know for sure that many comrades can’t literally do nothing without a “stick” for various reasons, but they create with it real miracles, often by a head exceeding their ideas about their own abilities.
But on theory, the authors do not stay long; they then move on to practical issues of organizing remote work. The principles of the correct organization of labor are explained to us: remote work does not exist without “overlap time” - several hours, when full-time and remote employees work simultaneously and are in touch with each other; without shared access to files, which are better to keep in the "cloud"; without additional entertaining chat with colleagues, which will replace conversations for life at the cooler. Ambiguous issues such as monitoring and evaluating work are also being raised, but they will not be able to talk about them in a nutshell.
A significant place is occupied by the section on the problems of organizing one's own labor. It is not a secret for anyone that the “udalenka” leaves fewer opportunities for communicating with colleagues on professional and working topics, leading to some isolation; it can negatively affect the motivation, which - as the authors note, and I completely agree with them - "you can not artificially increase it with the help of the right tricks." Great advice is given on the fact that different computers should be used for entertainment and work at home - one of them may well be a tablet; but, of course, this is not all limited to.
The authors have not forgotten about such an important point as hiring remote employees - here they have to dispel prejudice, such as the personal qualities of a person whom you will almost never see live, are not so important. Leaders will find here, among other things, thoughts on when (and whether) they should transfer their office or startup to remote work and how to effectively regulate its work. Freelance is also being rehabilitated here - as the best school of life for those who want to work remotely in the future.
Due to its proximity to the realities of today, Remote, unlike most classic books on the problems of work of programmers, does not look like a guest from the 90s; From time to time I had the feeling that I was not reading a book, but talking to colleagues. However, many of the problems raised here, I really discussed more than once with friends, so they were taken far from the ceiling.
Of course, not everyone will like the book; in the end, after all, many Rework scolded for everything that is possible - from the "poster" style of communication with the reader and superficiality up to harmful advice. In the latter case, it’s more about the 37signals themselves - after all, even Paul Graham suspectedthat the company's unique device at that time was the exception rather than the rule. However, since 2006, a lot of time has already passed, freelance has blossomed violently, but the question of where it is better to start a startup - in the thick of a big city or in the peace and quiet of remote work - is still open. In any case, you can evaluate it for yourself in the first chapter of the book and other reviews , which contain many passages and ideas from it. I myself am one of those to whom the advice of Rework once already brought good luck, so I can recommend to all fans of the last book at least try to get acquainted with the new one.
Nevertheless, Remote is the first more or less serious attempt to bring together, organize and justify the principles of remote work, and therefore for some, most of its tips will be familiar for a long time. Here are just the last does not cancel their correctness and practical benefits.