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Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering Paperback – Oct 28 2002


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Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering + Code Complete + The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (Oct. 28 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321117425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321117427
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 18.5 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Format: Paperback
I recommend this book to any software person who wants to find out why most software projects that fail, fail.
But my specific interest revolves around writing software in large engineering (hard engineering) companies, in that very peculiar environment. Specifically, the hard engineering environment in which knowledge of the programming language is considered the most advanced software theory needed to produce a product, and in which Electrical Engineers without any formal education in advanced data structures, algorithms to manipulate them, search strategies, and heuristics are writing most of the code.
I am seeing HUGE software projects fall FAR short of their schedulled goals, because those doing the coding have simply used up all their computational cycles (I'm talking about real-time software). In these situations, managers seem to imply
1. they were blindsided
2. there are no ways to forsee such computational box canyons
3. no one could have done better, anyway.
On all 3 points, managers are wrong. And the substance on which they are so badly wrong, would make for another 10 fallacies in Glass' book. For example:
Fallacy N: Hard engineers produce advanced software algorithms.
The average hard engineer is writing Freshman undergraduate code, and making basic errors in design.
Fallacy N+1: Simple code (meaning no Computer Science theory) is much more efficient than highly tailored software algorithms. Actually, it is often orders of magnitude less efficient.
Fallacy N+2: Analytical mathematical solutions are the only ones worthy of respect. Actually, with the incredibly complex problems in modern engineering, closed form mathematical solns may never be found.
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Format: Paperback
Once again, Glass has proven that he belongs in the software engineering pantheon along with Tom DeMarco, Gerry Weinberg, and Steve McConnell.
This book will open your eyes. If you work in the field, you'll never think about your livelihood the same way again.
If you take only one thing away from this book, remember this: don't blindly trust what the advocates of the latest methodology are saying, whether it be OO, XP, RUP, or UML, without some substantive evaluative research backing them up. Glass makes compelling arguments as to why the software industry has fallen easy prey to the hucksters and snake-oil salesmen.
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Format: Paperback
The other reviewers have done a fine job of covering the content of the book. I will comment about its usefulness. In short, this book is truly valuable to the developer who has recently been promoted to team leader. While developers would benefit greatly from this book, the reality is that most developers would rather read books like "Effective C++", "Design Patterns", "Expert One on One Oracle", etc. To the new manager, though, this book is a gem. The book talks about specific management issues as well as the development life cycle and quality. In short, the book focuses exactly on what the team leader does and the team leader's team. In addition to the material presented in the book, the author gives a great number of sources and reference for further reading.
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