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Foreword by Jason Fried - Product Owner

The way a team works has an enormous influence on what it can do. The process, the methods, the practices, the approach, the discipline, the trust, the communication style, the pace. The way—the how—is foundational and fundamental.

You’ll often hear people say “execution is everything,” but that’s not quite right. In fact, it’s often quite wrong.

When it comes to project work, and specifically software development, executing something the wrong way can destroy morale, grind teams down, erode trust, crunch gears, and wreck the machinery of long-term progress. So yeah, it’s “done,” but at what cost? By doing, what have we done to ourselves? Do we really have to do that again, over and over month after month, year after year?

How many projects have you been a part of that you’d want to do over? How many projects have gone long, piled up at the end, and burned people out? How many projects were essentially collections of unreasonable expectations? How many projects turned teams against each other, frustrated everyone from builder to stakeholder, and ultimately would have been better off dying than delivering?

Sometimes execution is everything—everything that’s wrong. So what does executing right look like?