The inmates are running the asylum

Alan Cooper describes his experiences consulting and working with major players in the software industry to enhance their design process and software usability.  He describes such techniques as creating multiple end user personas and usage scenarios to help tune the interface and interaction design.

Cooper also discusses the importance of having designers on development teams and allowing them to have the power and responsibility of directing and designing the user interface and interaction experience.  This small book is easy to read and provides lots of food for thought for improving software usability.

The Mythical Man-Month

The Mythical Man-Month is one of the few truly classic texts on Software Engineering.  Few texts in computing have yet to have 20th anniversary editions or offered the author a chance to revisit and refine their arguments decades later.  This book is essential reading for anyone working on large scale software projects.

Brooks (the author) details the insights he has gained through working on very large scale software projects like the IBM System 360 computer and its operating systems.  Of particular interest is the chapter on ‘The Second System Effect’ and the ‘No Silver Bullet’ essay added in the 20th anniversary edition.  This book is especially useful for its discussion on the problems faced by large teams of developers on large projects.