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5.0 out of 5 stars All-in-one project reference
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.
Published on June 5 2004 by Taddese Zicke

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Restating the obvious
I bought this book based on the recommendation of a coworker , who had the book recommended to him as well. Sadly I did not see eye to eye with him on this. The book was filled with 500 pages of obvious strategies and pitfalls that people should already know from common sense. Topics like leaving time cushions for error, don't higher people to work with people that...
Published on Dec 10 2001 by synfin80


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5.0 out of 5 stars All-in-one project reference, June 5 2004
By 
Taddese Zicke (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
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
By 
T. Hiltbrand (Layton, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
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 (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
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
By 
Abhinav Agarwal "AA" (India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (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. The classic mistakes number 36 (though Steve M points out that a complete list could probably go on for pages and pages):
Undermined motivation, Weak personnel, uncontrolled problem employees, Heroics , Adding people to a late project , Noisy crowded offices , Friction between developers and customers , Unrealistic expectations , Lack of effective project sponsorship , Lack of stakeholder buy-in , Lack of user input , Politics placed over substance , Wishful thinking , Overly optimistic schedules , Insufficient risk management , Contractor failure , Insufficient planning , Abandonment of planning under pressure , Inadequate design , Planning to catch up later , Code-like-hell programming , Requirements gold-plating , Feature creep , Developer gold-plating , Push-me, pull-me negotiation , Research oriented development , Silver bullet syndrome , Overestimated savings from new tools or methods , Switching tools in the middle of a project , Lack of automated source-code control , Shortchanged quality assurance , Omitting necessary tasks from estimates , Shortchanged front end upstream activities.
He categorizes these classic mistakes into four sets : People related, technology related, product related, and process related.
Part 2 covers rapid development issues in greater detail.
Core issues like Estimation, Scheduling, Lifecycle Planning, etc.. are covered. 'Soft' issues like Motivation, Teamwork, Customer Oriented Developmentare also covered.
Part 3 is a compendium of best practices. There is a summary table of the each best practice, and the efficacies, major risks, major interactions and trade-offs listed.
Some candidate best practices not included are getting top people
, Source Code Control, Requirements Analysis.. These are listed as fundamental to a software project.
The Best Practices listed are
JAD, Spiral Lifecycle Model, Theory W Management, Throwaway Prototyping, Staged Delivery, Voluntary Overtime, Miniature Milestones, Outsourcing, Reuse, User-Interface Prototyping, Change Board, Daily Build and Smoke Test, Tools Group.
As an example, Steve McConnel covers 'Inspections' stating the
chances of its long term success are excellent, it reduces schedule risk, its improvement in progress visibility is only fair, has no major risks, it can be combined with virtually any other rapid development best practice
The book has a very engaging style of writing...
Some quotes...
- Projects can look like a tortoise on valium to the customers, but as a rapid-development death march to the developers.
- The team ranks so low in the company that it has to pay to get its own team t-shirts.
- Rapid development isn't always efficient.
- Run every software project as an experiment ('Hawthorne Effect').
- If Las Vegas sounds too tame for you, software might be just the right gamble.
- The most common (and incorrect) definition of estimate is: 'An estimate that has the most optimistic prediction that has a non-zero probability of coming true' - Tom DeMarco
All in all, a fully deserved five stars!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Software Development process book, July 22 2003
By 
therosen "therosen" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (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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5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one project managment book - buy this one!, April 30 2003
By 
Darrell Teague (Chesapeake, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
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
By 
Jessica Sant (NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Project Management Reference for ALL Software Professionals, April 4 2003
By 
Harinath Thummalapalli (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (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. I am always comparing the value I get from any book I purchase and this is one of the most reasonably priced books for the 600 + pages of wisdom it provides. Share this book with your colleagues and friends, they will definitely thank you for it. Get a copy and start taming those wild software schedules!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Showed this to my former boss and he stole it from me..., Feb. 21 2003
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (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. Other teams on my company keep working forever on a always delayed work refusing to believe there is a better way to work here, to be at the end, looking to work somewhere else or leaving entire projects unfinished or needing a severe rewrite.
Our team uses this book (without approval from our systems director) and also two other titles that compliment the way we work (very well): Code Complete and Peopleware.
I do strongly recommend to get those books also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars And the truth shall set you free, Feb. 13 2003
This review is from: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules (Paperback)
If you are searching for a shrink-rapped software development process, then this book is definitely NOT for you. I initially bought it and its sibling--Software Project Survival Guide-for exactly that purpose: to find a development process that I can apply to projects within my organization. Naturally, I quickly became frustrated with both books because they did not offer me the silver bullet I was seeking; there were no flow chart diagrams, document templates, or lists of deliverables. But as my experience grew, I finally saw the truth that McConnell was preaching all along: There is no "One Process". There is no silver bullet. A process will not guarantee you on-time and bug-free delivery of your projects.
Recently, McConnell acknowledged what he was implicitly telling us all along: Every organization should have a toolbox of processes; processes that one can pick and choose from on per project bases. And that's where the real value of this book lies; it tells you what processes are out there, how to choose one for the project at hand, and what to expect from each process. It's about the "meta-process" if you will. It's both timeless and priceless knowledge. I highly recommend it for any team lead or project manager.
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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules
Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules by Steve McConnell (Paperback - July 12 1996)
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