Jeff Atwood blogged about the free online book Almost Perfect earlier this week. Author Pete Peterson was part of WordPerfect for 12 years and opens a window into development process, marketing, competition, and highs and lows of the company, from a small starter to a big corporation.
I think the broader themes in this book are still applicable today - the enthusiastic team learning on its feet, finding creative ways to compete, dealing with customers and incorporating feedback, handling "feature creep" and release schedules, and the culture of an organisation (in this case, run by programmers). Pete doesn't come across as a particularly sympathetic guy, but tells an interesting tale and gives an insight into the IT culture of the mid 80's to the early 90's.
I was never a WordPerfect user but remember seeing it in shops and magazines; amazingly, WordPerfect was available on almost every operating system under the sun - DOS, AmigaOS, Windows, OS/2, Apple IIe, Apple IIGS, Apricot, Tandy, even Atari (with the enormous differences in architecture and capabilities, that almost equates to x number of different products, aside from all the different versions!)
I'm glad Jeff posted about Almost Perfect. It's well worth the read.
Tags: book, review