Book Recommendation: Joy, Inc.

Joy Inc Book
Submitted by Yuliya Mijuk on 04/27/2015

I recently read a book that describes how an agile enterprise found its way to success and joy. I would like to recommend this book because it, unlike many other books on agility, is not focused on the company itself but on people inside of it. It does not answer the question: "How can a company quickly react to changes in our very dynamic time?" But it answers the question "How work can be fun and bring joy?" The book is by Richard Sheridan (keynote speaker at the Global Scrum Gathering in Berlin, 2014) and is called "Joy, Inc. / How We Built a Workplace People Love".

When can you be satisfied with your work as a developer? If the result of this work is a high quality product that is easily understood and willingly and often used by the target audience. And when do you have joy at work? If you are not constantly under time pressure, if you don’t need to work overtime, if you have no fear of estimation errors, if you feel yourself safe at work, if you don’t need to be available during your vacation time, if you can always find something new to learn and has the possibility to share your knowledge with the colleagues ....

Richard Sheridan describes how he and his team have built a company that brings joy - Menlo Innovations. Probably the most important sentences in the book are: "Let's start the experiment" and "Make mistakes faster". Richard encourages everyone to try out new ideas, new business practices, new development techniques. Not every experiment has good results but you can always learn something and make conclusions. The book contains several examples of successful experiments in Menlo Innovations. These concern working with clients, creating requirements, planning the development, working arrangements, hiring new employees  and dissolving working relationships and can easily be adopted as best practices.

I was impressed with their recruitment procedures and with the fact that they (whether developers or anthropologists) always work in regularly changing pairs. I will summarize the recruitment process I summarize in a separate article, for those who have had negative experiences with traditional recruitment processes and would like to try out a new path.

Here are the steps of the staircase to the floor  named "Joy" - the contents of the book:

  • Why Joy?
  • My Journey to Joy
  • Space and Noise
  • Freedom to Learn
  • Conversations, Rituals, und Artifacts
  • Interviewing, Hiring, and Onboarding
  • The Power of Observation
  • Fight Fear, Embrace Change
  • Growing Leaders, Not Bosses
  • End Chaos, Eliminate Ambiguity
  • Rigor, Discipline, Quality
  • Sustainability and Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Accountability and Results
  • Alignment
  • Problems
  • Stepping into Joy
  • The Inspiration

Enjoy it.

Yuliya Mijuk

About the author

Yuliya Mijuk

Yuliya’s professional life started with Scrum. She is a Certified Scrum Professional and received her certification as ScrumMasters in 2006. She studied Computational Linguistics at the LMU in Munich. After the graduation in 2004 she came to WEB.DE where the transition to Scrum was taking place. Later on Yuliya worked as a ScrumMaster and Scrum Coach at SPRiNT iT and billiger.de (solute GmbH).