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Working Backwards

book cover image and link to amazon

"Working Backwards" was a fantastic book. It offers an insider's look at the strategies behind Amazon's success, exploring the company's unique concepts that fueled its meteoric rise. Written by former Amazon executives who served during its most transformative years, the book reveals first-hand insights into Jeff Bezos' leadership and the thought processes behind iconic elements of the company's culture.

I particularly enjoyed the deep dive into Amazon's renowned 6-pagers... long-form documents used for decision-making. By replacing PowerPoint presentations with these detailed narratives, Amazon forces teams to outline the problem, proposed solution, and supporting context. During meetings, the first 20 minutes are dedicated to silent reading, followed by discussion. If the document is strong, it serves as the project proposal; if not, revisions are made based on the feedback.

tearing down skyscraper

While many companies attempt to emulate Amazon's methods with limited success, this book illuminates the specific circumstances that gave rise to these solutions. Understanding this context makes it easier to adapt and apply the concepts within our own company. For instance, our Software Factory's aversion to PowerPoint aligns with this philosophy. We prioritize demonstrations of the actual work (code or the application itself) accompanied by written documents for conveying information.

I highly recommend "Working Backwards". Its exploration of topics relevant to Rolls-Royce and many other companies ensures it will remain a valuable resource for my book shelf.

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