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How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products

Book Notes

This is my review of the book for work:

Finished reading How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products - it was a Shopify Montreal library book, and, I think, a great choice. I read it in about 3 days on the bus rides into work, so it's a quick read. It's a guidebook on how to build software from validating an idea before writing software, through user personas and stories, designing workflows with paper, prototyping guidelines, basic marketing strategies and metrics. The typography and copy-editing needs work; the book has no ISBN [edit: the copy I have doesn't, but the book does: 978-1-4951-4124-9], and is available at http://femgineer.com/transform-ideas/ and Amazon.

Okay, that's the blurb of it. The opinion of it: if you already know all of this information, if you already write code and know about full product life-cycles, then, sure, all you're going to get out of this book is how much it needed a copy-editor before publishing.

However, it is the PERFECT book to hand to someone who doesn't write software or is new to software development, and wants to take an idea through to project launch and growth. It's a great roadmap: it's not deep in any area, but points the reader in the right direction.

My new plan for people who approach me at conferences with ideas they want to build is now recommend this book and suggest they do the exercises through chapter 7, then come back and we'll talk.

I recommend this book for software people as a blueprint, it's an easy read and eye-opening to all the things you already know but everyone else doesn't. For non-software people, this is the perfect blueprint for building a software product.

Ignore the typos and the "you've gottas."

Of note, I have it as a work-provided book. Work has this amazing library where employees are allowed to take books from the library to read, and return if they want or keep them if they'd like. I love this idea. Many of the books are business books, some are inspirational books. It's a great idea for a library.

Notes while reading:

If your book has a "you've gotta" in it, then you've gotta have an editor before you publish. A number of these odd speech patterns and assorted typos are distracting while reading. I would argue having someone do the typography design would also benefit this book. The tiny print, tall line spacing and small margins make the book difficult to read. Bigger fonts and thinner paper would have been a great improvement for the readability and feel of this book.

The exercises in the book are great.

Wow, is it easy to forget just how much one learns over the course of a career writing software for a living.

Questions to ask self in weekly reviews (similar to what I already ask, actually):

1. How much time did you spend on your idea this week?
2. If you didn't spend any time this week, why not?
3. Will you be able to set aside the same amount of time next week? If not, why not?
4. If you worked on your idea this week, what were the specific tasks you did and were there any results (doesn't matter if they were positive or negative)?
5. Is there anything you are stuck on? What is it?
6. If you did get stuck, who do you know who could help you, and what is the specific help you need from them? Or do you need to do some thinking or research on your own?
7. Set 1-2 goals for the following week (eg "do exercise 1 in chapter 3")

Recommended.

Comments

Thanks for taking the time to write a thorough and honest review Kitt! I will work on those typos and design fixes for the next edition and in future books.

Just wanted to add that there is now an ISBN number: 978-1-4951-4124-9.

And I appreciate you spreading the word to people as you speak at conferences :) Good luck with Net Awards!