There are many great books with wisdom on how best to form effective teams, but the trouble has always been that this folk knowledge is widely distributed and uses different words for the same things. What the authors have achieved here is to organise this knowledge in a clear taxonomy of team topologies and interaction patterns.
What's more, they do a great job of citing other important works on the topic so that the reader can follow ideas back to their source: Melvin Conway, James Lewis, Daniel Pink, Evan Bottcher, Michael Nygard, Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim, Allan Kelly, John Roberts, Don Reinertsen and many more are liberally quoted throughout the text. That makes this book a great summary work on a topic of vital importance to any software organisation of any size - how do we best divide the work so that teams have the best possible chance of success?
Lots of useful content and references here, spread throughout. Also some informative diagrams to prompt discussion.
I did feel however the overall content of the book could have been written in 40 pages, a lot of repetition and use of academic language when a simpler conversation style would have sufficed. It led to cognitive overload which is ironic
Team Topologies eloquently combines the latest in systems thinking, human factors, complexity and value streams into a thorough and well-presented organisational design handbook that had me nodding all the way through.
Regularly referencing the greats (Conway, Brooks, DeMarco, Tuckman, Dunbar, Pink, Forsgren, Humble, Kim, et al) it in many ways applies the lessons learned from software architecture (abstraction, encapsulation, interfaces, loose coupling, feedback, etc) to organisational design, and it does so brilliantly. I especially liked its focus on cognitive load, "team APIs", office environment and user/developer experience - all often overlooked, but all critical to becoming truly high performing.
If you're about to undertake a costly and disruptive reorganisation, do yourself a huge favour and read Team Topologies first!
(based upon a complimentary copy from IT Revolution)
Matthew and Manuel have produced a tour de force on team design for the 21st century agile and digital world.
By none most people have grasped that hierarchy may not be the most appropriate structure in the modern world but apart from Spotify what other models are there? And why would you choose one over the other?
Matthew and Manuel have codified years of experience and research on why you want to adopt one form over another and the - often non-obvious - forces and laws that need to be considered