Customer Reviews


94 Reviews
5 star:
 (82)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 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...
Published on April 4 2003 by Harinath Thummalapalli

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 9 2001 by synfin80


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rapid Development (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars And the truth shall set you free, Feb. 13 2003
This review is from: Rapid Development (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by the catchy title, Oct. 3 2002
By 
"ce10" (European Union) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rapid Development (Paperback)
This book is simply a must. As McConnell points out, it is useless to search for 'silver bullet syndrome' magic techniques to remedy software projects that fall into the common pits, without having a firm grasp on the state of the art.
And how many 'Software Development Fundamentals' are out there, and that they are ignored by most people, is one of the great contributions of this book. The single most important part in my opinion is the one on project estimation -- there is a lower limit for development time, and it can't be lowered!
In addition there are lots of references, for related topics summarized at the end of each chapter as well as in an appendix. To dive into some of these sources is worthwile, I discovered the venerable Gerald M. Weinberg as a first example.
The book is extremely well designed, one can read in a continual flow as well as find information quickly. That's how a superb book should be made. (BTW, don't be fooled by the 'Microsoft Press' thing either, there's no relevance in that.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves all the Glowing Reviews, Feb. 13 2002
This review is from: Rapid Development (Paperback)
This book deserves all the glowing reviews. It is the most practical and useable project management book I've ever come across. This is not some dry academic tome. It is not some trendy treatise on the latest "extreme" theory. Despite the fact that Microsoft Press is the publisher, this is not some "Secrets of Microsoft" book, either. The book is eminently practical and full of common sense.
The author writes:
"This whole book .. is an entreaty to stop ... looking for silver bullets."
"If only common sense were commonly practiced."
One reviewer griped "Restating the obvious." Well, that is true. What sets the book apart is that all these "obvious" "common sense" practices are enumerated, cataloged, analyzed, and presented in a very useable and convenient format. Moreover, the author takes great pains to prove his points by citing quantitative studies and looking empirical data.
It has been my personal experience that most projects don't follow this "obvious" advice because management is looking for shortcuts and "silver bullets." Every project manager should read this book and disabuse him/her self of those fantasies.
Each chapter ends with a nice "Further Reading" section.
My only gripe: I wish there were a list of figures.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Destroyed all misconceptions of the development process, Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Rapid Development (Paperback)
This book is *AMAZING*. After years of "code-like-hell" development and amazingly frustrating bugs related to design flaws, I finally decided to pick up a book on the development process geared towards getting the project done and out the door.
After digging around numerous sites, reading literally hundreds of reviews, and soliciting the opinions of fellow developers, I finally settled on ordering "Rapid Development" and one of the other books by the same author, "Code Complete".
All I can say is "holy cow". "Rapid Development" was delivered to my door around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. I picked it up and right away read chapter 3 - "Classic Mistakes". The scenario presented in the chapter just about blew my mind; it detailed every issue I have ever come across in the development process that has stalled or killed a project. It was also well written with a dry, witty humor; a definate must for any technical book about typically dry subjects.
After reading that one chapter, I flipped back to the beginning of the book and read it all the way through. I didn't put the book down until midnight, and after I had, there were all sorts of ideas screaming through my head I could apply to my current engagements.
Managers and non-technical people will greatly benefit from this book too. Have you ever that manager who stands over your shoulder asking you how it's going, why you're doing something a certain way, or what's taking the project so long? Give this book to your manager and tell him to read Chapter 11, "Motivaton". Chapters 3 and 11 provided the proper explanations for the constant recurrance of certain software project issues ("Why are the programmers working twelve hours a day and the project never seems to get any closer to completion?" "What exactly is so hard about adding this one feature to the program that was never accounted for in the first place?" "If those programmers are such geniuses, why won't they share code or use each other libraries?") to persuade my company to buy this book for all developers and technical managers.
Never has a technical book provided me with so much insight and so much open-ended, thought-provoking detail. I was able to apply about a third of the principles described to about 90% of all the projects i've ever worked on without thinking for more then a minute or two. The other two thirds proved themselves when digging deeper into the various issues.
Blah. What a burst of hot air. I've personally never EVER written a review for a book (never enough time), but I just HAD to stop and give five stars to this one.
BUY THIS BOOK. AND BUY IT FOR YOUR MANAGERS. NOW.(...)I am THAT confident that it provide at least one improvement to the way you develop software, if not many.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the software professional, Sept. 21 2001
By 
Geoff Puterbaugh (Chiang Mai, T. Suthep, A. Muang Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rapid Development (Paperback)
Everyone involved in software development should read this excellent book. I got my chance 2-3 years back, when I was idle between contracts, and I found it to be a real eye-opener. One point that sticks in my mind is this: "rapid development" is something which only an excellent software organization can do. To get there, the organization must get to "good" first. And, even before that, the organization must get to "fair."
To say that again in another way, common sense will tell you that before your organization can get to "good," it has to stop making all the common software errors described in this book (feature creep, architectural gold-plating, lack of unit testing, and so on.)
Another very memorable thought is conceiving of every software schedule that becomes more accurate with time -- because, as time goes on, presumably you understand more exactly what you are doing. Thus you might initially say "Customer Assistance Program" -- 1 or 2 years. Then you write a document which describes it in detail, and estimate it at 14-19 months. Then you architect it, and get a better estimate. This is a very pragmatic approach!
Highest recommendation!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars To The Critics, July 19 2000
This review is from: Rapid Development (Paperback)
Hi,
Just wanted to laugh at the folks criticizing this book because it comes from someone who worked at Microsoft. The funny thing is that, in my 10 years as a software developer, 99% of the people who complain about Microsoft sofware being buggy are themselves working on a project suffering from the same problems or worse. Let those who are free of sin cast the first stone. And since software engineering involves trying to control something that is inherently chaotic and error prone as a rule, I don't believe many of us will be casting stones. (Unless you are working on a one man project at a University or something). Keep in mind that Microsoft produces more software then anybody else out there, and given the level of sophistication, do a pretty good job. There is a group of people who deeply resent having to run MS software on their PC's because they wanted other platforms to have more of a following. I am one of those hard to find people who understand the technical limitations of much of MS software but who respects, from a business point of view, the software machine that they've become.
My recommendation to those of you without a deep seeded hatred of Microsoft (and with an ounce of open mindedness left) is this: go to a bookstore and just peruse Chapter 3 on classic mistakes. If this doesn't adequately describe the most common mistakes you've seen in your development career, then you don't need the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Rapid Development
Rapid Development by Steve McConnell (Paperback - July 2 1996)
CDN$ 37.00 CDN$ 23.20
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews