Ben Hyrman

Hacking Work, a review

Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein

At its core, this book is about personal productivity. It asks us to question what tools and processes we use every day at work and prods us to think about how to bypass those which get in our way. While you won't find any step-by-step how-to's, there are plenty of great case studies and stories from the field scattered through-out the book that an inclined person will have a path forward illuminated.

This book has made me realize how fortunate I've been in my professional life. By training or happenstance, I've never been good at following processes that don't add value. And, I've had the pleasure of working with great managers that have been willing to step up and provide air cover. In fact, about 1/3rd of the way into the book, I realized that there was nothing in it that I could apply to my current role. I finished it anyway. It'd a good book.

One of the key take-aways for me, as a software developer, is how I should think about the tools I build. Even on run-of-the-mill corporate tools, I can better enable others in the company by thinking about ways to let others easily reshape and mold the information locked behind the systems I deliver. In an era of both data breeches and a heightened desire by workers to strip away the processes that push corporate productivity at the expense of personal productivity, what can I do to be an ally to people who just want to get things done?

Through my lens, or those of another employee, or manager, or senior leader, I think the book offers some thoughtful guidance and solid questions to ask on building employee-focused systems.

Bottom line, this is a fun, quick read and worth the time.