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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on November 25, 2014
I have read a good chunk of this book and much of it offers the most pragmatic approach to software development. If you have some years under your belt, this book will make a lot of sense and should help you right some wrongs in your approach. It's also very good at filling in some of the gaps anyone may have when participating in projects.
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on October 11, 2014
I tried the electronic version of the book first. Because reading electronic texts is not easy for my eyes, I ordered the paperback of it. I did not expect that quality for the amount of money that I paid. I am very happy. I do recommend students take advantage of the options that they have in this website, specially free shipping. Sadly I missed that part as I did not see it when I ordered.
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on July 19, 2014
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on October 24, 2010
it's a used book, but with the good conditions as the seller described. Not bad!
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on 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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on 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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on August 19, 2003
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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on August 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. 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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on 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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on April 30, 2003
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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