By Chris Vander Mey
Published September 2012 List Price:$24.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $20.15
Amazon.com Sales Rank:609,209 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Shipping Greatness is a book about how to build and release great software that customers love. It's also a recipe for maintaining your sanity while you do so. Full of examples from Amazon, Google, and Venture Capital, Shipping Greatness explains in detail how to make your next software project great.
GDNet Staff Review:
The term "shipping" in the era of Internet downloads and web-based platforms means something very different than it did ten years ago. Shipping no longer connotes box-art or coordinating with a printer for the manual or mass-duplication of CD-ROMs. In that way, digital distribution is easier.
And it is a process that is constantly evolving and redefining itself. While the old CD-ROM-in-a-box model had its flaws, it was defined and tested over a couple of decades. Digital distribution has remade itself several times just in the last decade, from Java WebStart to Steam to cloud-based services.
The author of Shipping Greatness, Chris Vander Mey, is as qualified as anyone you will find on the topic of shipping software in the web age. He has shipped major products for both Amazon and Google, so he's one of the voices that should not be ignored if you know what's good for you. In many places, there are professional "in the field" case-studies, and you feel like everything presented in the book is time-tested and tuned over several projects.
Shipping Greatness has some good tips for designing and deploying quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Design documents are de-emphasized in favor of quick visual mockups designed to get everyone on the same page without spending a lot of time defining all features. If you have a small talented crew, this would likely work. If you were on a larger slower-moving project with people all over the experience spectrum, you may need something more rigorous. We live in an era where building checklists and mockups can be built electronically as quickly as on paper, so we should be able to take advantage of that.
Shipping Greatness tries to tackle a great number of subjects in a pretty limited (200 page) space. Hence, the depth to which things are covered is not consistent. This book could easily have been twice the size it is without getting too wordy. As it stands, it is a book that can be read in a couple of afternoons, but it will likely leave you wanting more in spots.