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Rapid Development Paperback – Jul 2 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (July 2 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556159005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556159008
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 4.1 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

I can hear some of you exclaiming, "How can you possibly recommend a book about software scheduling published by Microsoft Press and written by a consultant to Microsoft?!" Well, put aside any preconceived biases. This is a tremendous book on effective scheduling software development, and it drinks deeply from the wisdom of all the classics in the field such as Brook's Mythical Man Month -- and is likely well-informed by McConnell's experiences, good and bad, in Redmond.

The nine page section entitled "Classic Mistakes Enumerated" is alone worth the price of admission and should be required reading for all developers, leads, and managers. Here are some types of the 36 classic mistakes that McConnell describes in detail:

  • People Related Mistakes
    • Heroics
    • Adding people to a late project
    • Politics placed over substance (etc.)

  • Process Related Mistakes
    • Abandonment of planning under pressure
    • Planning to catch up later
    • "Code-like-hell" programming (etc.)

  • Technology Related Mistakes
    • Silver-Bullet syndrome
    • Overestimating savings from new tools or methods
    • Switching tools in the middle of a project (etc.)

I suspect that if you've ever been involved in software development, you winced after reading each of these nine points. And you will learn a great deal from the remaining 640 pages about concrete solutions.

My only substantive gripe: cheesy Powerpoint graphics. Nonetheless, this book is Very Highly Recommended.

From the Publisher

The real-world guide to more efficient application development from the author of Code Complete.

Who is this book for?

People who are paying for development of software products and who want to reduce the development schedules and therefore the amount they have to pay to have a product developed Project managers who want to reduce the development time of their applications. Technical leads who have been asked to reduce the development time of their applications. Programmers in general who want to stay current in development techniques. Readers of Code Complete who would like to read the next book by the same author.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE PRODUCT MANAGER TOLD ME he wanted to build a product right for a change. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on April 4 2003
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has ever been on a software project is initially confused by all the chaos involved. When Ford can churn out good quality and inexpensive automobiles and McDonald's can serve millions of satisfied people around the world, and we can put man on the moon, why do the most reputable companies struggle to deliver even the simplest of software projects?
After being on two new model launches at Ford that went smoothly, I moved into IT at the beginning of the economic boom in the mid-nineties and asked the same question. Why is the IT world so inept at managing software projects? My boss at the time quickly whipped out this book and asked me to read it cover to cover before asking any more questions or wasting any more time trying to figure this out. I did as I was told and found the answers I was looking for. I also found answers to questions I hadn't asked yet but I would have eventually. I instantly purchased a copy of this book for my long term personal book collection.
The book contains a thorough discussion of various software development practices and their effectiveness using case studies very extensively. These case studies stick in your mind really well and drive home the point that the author is trying to make. The book also talks about the most classic mistakes on any software development project and then details several strategies to avoid them altogether on your own project.
I still refer to this book whenever I feel nervous on a software project that something's not right. You don't need to be technical to understand the book and the book is written for anyone on a software project - from the project manager to the developer to the tester. I can't believe the pricing on the book.
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Format: Paperback
Steve McConnell's books have always displayed a remarkable degree of practicality and readability. This book is no different.
The author says at the outset the Purpose of the book is to answer issues about trade-offs. The author says that software can be optimized for any of several goals: lowest defect rate, lowest cost, or shortest development, etc... Software Engineering is then about achieving tradeoffs, and this is what this book is primarily about.
Because the book is so big, it has been broken into sections that can be read selectively and quickly. A short book would have oversimplified things to the point of uselessness.
Organization of the book:
Parts 1, 2 deal with the Strategy and Philosophy of rapid development, while part 3 covers Rapid develoment best practices
In chapter 3 the author talks about 'Classic Mistakes'. He calls them 'classic' and 'seductive' because they are so easy to make that they have been repeated in countless projects.
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Format: Paperback
Unrealistic schedules are the bane of the software world's existance. In a world of "the quick and the dead" and "first mover advantage" achieving the unachievable seems to be a way of life in the industry. Steve McConnell takes a level headed approach at this crucial problem.
Steve looks at 3 dimensions of the problem - people, process and technology. In the spirit of haste, lots of mistakes are made. Steve then covers many of the techniques available, and identifies their impact to schedule, risk, and other factors. This isn't just a "how I learned how to do it" - it's backed up by hard research on what works, and what doesn't. Invaluable information for anyone serious about improving their ability to survive in such a hypercharged environment.
Ultimately, there is no silver bullet to this problem. Telling your project manager to read this book won't solve world peace. But carefully applying the tools and techniques listed will do you a world of good.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second time I buy this book, but even if I cannot tell you this might be the bible of project management, is very close to being that.
Very well written, easy to read with lots of advice to consider and follow.
Almost everything you need to face sucessfully any software project is covered. I have many other software management books and papers, and after reading them all I keep checking on this one as reference. From my point of view, this book is a must and a strong first buy for those who not only head a programmers group, but also for programmers itself.
A few years ago, and with that book recently bought, our programmer group stopped our manager (a non programmer) to take some "common" sense adjustments to a very cumbersome, badly designed and also delayed proyect (as most of his last important projects were): Wanted to add more people to the delayed project, force us to work round the clock to finish on time, abstract final users from validating our progress, and remove any more testing, leaving it to the end of the project.
After many hours discussing with him and reading him complete chapters of this book (and some other books), we decided to stop our work, took a day free to clear our minds, keep our team unchanged, sat with our users to reschedule delivery times and keep working from 9 to 6.
We didn't complete the work on time, but past projects were misscalculated by 50%, ours ended late by just 20%.
Now, on my new job where projects were (and are) delayed usually more than triple of time with a lots of non-payed extra hours ended on time or with little delays (company culture is very difficult here), within our budget and rarely needing extra time.
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