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Book review of: Align: Get Your Team on the Same Page, Discover Clients’ Needs, Develop Better Products by Laura Marie Reese that was published in February 2019. Reese is a former leader at Altera Corporation (now part of Intel). Reese states on her own website that Align ‘explains how to obtain customer information that you can trust and use with confidence when developing products.’

Richard Cliff, CTO, Altera Corporation states on the back cover ‘..she created intellectual honesty in Altera’s understanding of customers’ needs, leading to some of the best products Altera has ever produced.’.

In the preface Reese states these items are found in the book:

  • Ways to cultivate an aligning mind-set
  • Clear roles for each member of the uncovering team
  • Step by step guides for running customer alignment meetings
  • Specific skills for face to face engagement with customers
  • Example scenarios inspired by real experiences
  • Tips for putting it all together

Points discussed in detail by Reese include:

  • But I want to wing it!
  • I’m already great with people. I can opt out of training. Right?
  • I’m too busy. I don’t have time for this stuff
  • I’m the expert in my field. The last thing I need is more corporate training
  • Yes every customer alignment meeting attendee must undergo training
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • A specific meeting agenda
  • Aligning the team goals
  • Aligning the team mind set
  • How not to align
  • The art of questioning
  • Listening
  • Beyond the basics
  • Managing personalities
  • Reviewing a customer alignment meeting
  • Day after a customer alignment meeting
  • Common meeting traps and how to avoid them

While this book is more suited for managers, directors, and executives, other IT staff (yes even DBAs) will find this book worth reading. If your considered a Subject Matter Expert (SME), you BETTER read this book as it discusses that role in detail when facing customers.

Client interaction should be on your list of personal skills that will help advance your own career. Right?

Here’s a thumbs up for the book ‘Align: Get Your Team on the Same Page, Discover Clients’ Needs, Develop Better Products’ by Laura Marie Reese