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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules [Paperback]

Steve McConnell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 12 1996 1556159005 978-1556159008 1

Corporate and commercial software-development teams all want solutions for one important problem—how to get their high-pressure development schedules under control. In RAPID DEVELOPMENT, author Steve McConnell addresses that concern head-on with overall strategies, specific best practices, and valuable tips that help shrink and control development schedules and keep projects moving. Inside, you’ll find:

  • A rapid-development strategy that can be applied to any project and the best practices to make that strategy work
  • Candid discussions of great and not-so-great rapid-development practices—estimation, prototyping, forced overtime, motivation, teamwork, rapid-development languages, risk management, and many others
  • A list of classic mistakes to avoid for rapid-development projects, including creeping requirements, shortchanged quality, and silver-bullet syndrome
  • Case studies that vividly illustrate what can go wrong, what can go right, and how to tell which direction your project is going
  • RAPID DEVELOPMENT is the real-world guide to more efficient applications development.

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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules + Code Complete + The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
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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 | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All-in-one project reference June 5 2004
Learn about project scheduling, risk management, and peopleware issues in this well written book. The example scenarios re-enforce the ideas presented throughout the book.
In the end, you'll walk away with a solid understanding of the project development cycle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars IT Management Must April 5 2004
I found this book to be enlightening on so many issues. I bought it thinking that it was touting a new methodolgy that would save the world from failing IT projects and found that it was a general summary of many things that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your IT team. It is very insightful and an overall good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every software professional Aug. 19 2003
By Michael
I'm a big fan of eXtreme Programming (XP) so I was particularly interested in reading this book to see if I could pick up some ideas and concepts different from that of XP. I was quite suprised to see many of the concepts and best practices McConnell presents in this book are very consistent with XP's practices. I also like how McConnell gives lots of references for his claims. He gives plenty of convincing data and supporting arguments to show what many of us already know yet many managers refuse to believe. Things like mandatory overtime can make productivity go down, the importance of moral, why managers can't control all the variables of a SW project (cost, schedule, & product). Overall this book is a great read and I really believe if everyone followed this book's best practices, especially 40 hour work week and honest scheduling, the entire SW industry would be much better than it is today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Guide With Real Life Examples Aug. 3 2003
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.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Software Development process book July 22 2003
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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If there is any one book that all developers and would-be project managagers should have - it's this one. Steve McConnell's writing style alone makes this an enjoyable read. Filled with tons of empirical data that is germane for any software project, this book is a tremendous resource. Having developed software professionally for over ten years now, I still find this book my favorite. Even though it was published in 1996, all of the material contained therein is still very pertinent to today's N-tier software development projects.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource April 18 2003
Despite the fact that this book is over 5 years old -- its still an excellent resource. I used this book in my Software Project Management course for my Master's Degree and can definiltly see myself using it in the future at work.
The book clearly explains the many risks and strategies involved in Rapid Development. The author uses anecdotes and examples effectively to illustrate his points. Many of the ideas build on top of each other to reinforce good methodologies for a project manager to follow -- but the book can also be read randomly (a chapter here, a chapter there).
This is a great resource from a developer's perspective too -- it gives you the ammunition to debate with an untrained, unknowledgable, misinformed or mislead project manager who's asking WAY too much and doesn't even realize it. I think anyone involved in the software engineering process will be able to take away a lot of knowledge from this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Used book is also not bad.
it's a used book, but with the good conditions as the seller described. Not bad!
Published on Oct. 24 2010 by Sophia
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Management Reference for ALL Software Professionals
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... Read more
Published on April 4 2003 by Harinath Thummalapalli
3.0 out of 5 stars Marginal Instructor
I recently took an online algebra tutorial and I was amazed at how well organized, clearly and simply presented, and how thoroughly I understood and retained the subject of alegbra... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Marginal Instructor
I recently took an online algebra tutorial and I was amazed at how well organized, clearly and simply presented, and how thoroughly I understood and retained the subject of alegbra... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Showed this to my former boss and he stole it from me...
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2003 by Jaime
5.0 out of 5 stars And the truth shall set you free
If you are searching for a shrink-rapped software development process, then this book is definitely NOT for you. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2003 by Mohammad B. Abdulfatah
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