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AntiPatterns in Project Management [Hardcover]

William J. Brown , Hays W. "Skip" McCormick , Scott W. Thomas
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 18 2000 0471363669 978-0471363668 1
The trusty AntiPatterns team returns with an invaluable guide to anticipating and avoiding the myriad pitfalls of project management From the initial business-modeling and design/analysis to the implementation and testing phases, the management of an object-oriented project is by far the most complex and important aspect of software development--and the most error-prone. The management process is fraught with mistakes, programming defects, honest errors, and difficult people--and any single one is capable of sinking an entire project or system. In this, the third book in a bestselling series focusing on the ins and outs of AntiPatterns, the authors employ their trademark style and irreverent humor to explore every phase of project management and identify the many technical, software, and personality issues that can cause headaches.

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Written for the project manager or IT professional, AntiPatterns in Project Management describes 18 "AntiPatterns" that can go wrong in the realm of software project management, plus management techniques and tips to overcome them. Filled with real-world insight and case studies that describe actual projects gone awry, this title gives a solid measure of management expertise that can help you succeed with your next project.

Early sections of the text set the tone with management techniques that stress standards and rigorous software processes. The authors discuss the importance of managing people, technology and process for successful project management. While most books on patterns keep descriptions short and almost schematic, an entire chapter--filled with background material on the causes, solutions (or "refactoring") to move beyond it, as well as examples borrowed from the field--is devoted to each AntiPattern. Anyone who has worked in software development will recognise many of the AntiPatterns here.

Descriptions of technology AntiPatterns include troubles with distributed technologies, lack of architecture, demos that grow into unusable, "finished" software, and software that hasn't undergone any planning at all. When it comes to process management, things can go wrong too, as in the case of misapplied software lifecycles. (In this section, the book lists no less than nine different software lifecycles that you can choose from.) Other process AntiPatterns include customers who drive software design all the way through to disaster, the "domino effect" of changes to staff that can destroy team effectiveness and management that demands adherence to an already late shipping date.

Though a bit theoretical at times, this title has plenty of practical advice on improving your everyday project management success. As the authors note, the great majority of software projects today are considered failures. By analysing what can go wrong, you can improve the odds in your favour in future development efforts by reading this savvy and well-organised volume. --Richard Dragan


"...an interesting book that contains a lot of material..." "If you care about being a good manager you will read this book..." -- Overload, September 2000

"...an interesting book that contains a lot of material..." "If you care about being a good manager you will read this book..." -- Overload, September 2000

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Fortunately, there are organizations that decide that they must change processes to keep up-to redirect the train. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Read for Project Managers Dec 3 2002
A very talented software engineer highly recommended this book to me as an engineering manager. I was intrigued to find that some of the Amazon.com reviews were sooooo negative. However, I bought the book anyway and found it to be quite useful.
The book uses the methodology of AntiPatterns, which is a hot topic in the software development community, to analyze problems with project management. This is simultaneously the book's strength and its weakness. Antipatterns are just one tool; one way of looking at the world; one way of analyzing a situation. Another useful addition to the toolkit is always welcome and the book clearly delivers one. On the other hand, if you are looking for the unified theory that will solve all project management problems, it doesn't deliver on that. (I am still looking for that book.)
One reason the book might receive mixed reviews is that it does have a tone of irreverence towards management. For example, in the Executive Summary, it says "The primary cause of software development failure is the lack of appropriate project management." While this may be true, some project managers may not enjoy reading about it. Similarly, the book has a tendency to identify the root cause of problems as "haste, ignorance or sloth", most likely on the part of management. This may be true, but perhaps not all that helpful or enjoyable to read.
Overall, I found the book to provide a valuable perspective on software project management. The book will not solve all of the world's project management problems but that's OK with me.
Read the book and use the principles wisely.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring June 20 2002
This book is dull compared to the first book in the series, "AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis". The authors take a reactive instead of proactive approach to project management. Read the four page antipattern synopsis in appendix B. The rest of the book regurgitates these items in expanded form. The text concentrates on project management problems and offers little in the solutions section. The antipattern named "standards" was helpful, however the material was duplicated from James Moore's book "Software Engineering Standards: A User's Roadmap".
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4.0 out of 5 stars No PHM's need apply Aug. 23 2001
By A Customer
AntiPatterns in Project Management contains easily read and digested templates on people, technology, and process management antipatterns. The examples are concise, yet they offer enough information that experienced programmers and project managers will cringe when they read the stories. The antipattern templates are easy to read and understand. And they provide a consistent framework for the discussion about exceptions, refactored solutions, typical causes, etc.
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