4. Working Backwards

Back in the strict business zone with “Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon,” The book is a collection of many things: from the way the Amazon culture enforces six-pagers docs instead of Powerpoints; weekly meetings are run where clearly structured data and metrics; or how the Kindle was designed and launched. It’s a fantastic dive into Amazon’s culture and the way it adapted its behaviors to its values.

(…) we became aware of another, less positive trend: our explosive growth was slowing down our pace of innovation. We were spending more time coordination and less time building. More features meant more software, written and supported by more software engineers. (…) At last we realized that all this cross-team communication didn’t really need refinement at all–it needed elimination.

Collin BRYAR and Bill CARR

What did you say? Subtraction? Yes, indeed.

What is fascinating here is the constant determination to work back from the company’s goal. Every conventional process that occupies 6 hours a day of any manager in a conventional company is slashed away mercilessly unless it’s a concrete step-stone to what needs to be delivered.

But for once, instead of a colorful collection of anecdotes, the book gets technical and gives you proper how-tos.