4.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. Learn from it
I bought this book many moons ago, and it fundamentally changed the way I looked at Software Engineering, and gave me a start down the path of project management. Years later, working on my Project Management Professional cert the lessons are still useful. I bought this book again for some up and coming software developer in my group who was a wizard coder, but sometimes...
Published 7 months ago by Zaphod
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after excellent predecessors
I read Code Complete and Rapid Development and was trilled. Survival Guide is not in the same league as them. I think that the author feel in love with process and describes an ideal project that doesn't exist. That is the source of my disappointment since his other books were delightfully pragmatic and useful.
If you landed in nearly doomed project and you want a...
Published on Jan. 30 2002 by natasa18
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4.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. Learn from it,
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This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)I bought this book many moons ago, and it fundamentally changed the way I looked at Software Engineering, and gave me a start down the path of project management. Years later, working on my Project Management Professional cert the lessons are still useful. I bought this book again for some up and coming software developer in my group who was a wizard coder, but sometimes had trouble balancing and prioritizing features/projects. Ever the skeptic on things that would slow him down and prevent him from coding, he still read it and had to admit that there was "some pretty useful stuff in there." Steve McConnell's Code Complete and Rapid Development are two other books I peg as must reads.
4.0 out of 5 stars Based on reviewing the draft, this will be a good one...,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)I had the pleasure of participating in the review process for this book over the Web. I think it will serve an important purpose in aiding non-I/S people with understanding what goes into running a software project.
The main approach that this book uses is the staged delivery model, which Steve covers in his book Rapid Development. The areas on estimating project length estimation are invaluable in explaining that you just can't pick a date out of thin air at the start of a project and then expect to be held to it for the life of the project.
I'm looking forward to seeing the published version and using it regularly in my current position.
4.0 out of 5 stars The presented methodology is good but...,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)will the book be convincing enough for you to adopt it?
I have not found this book very fun to read because of its very structured and academic format. I have not learned much from it as much of its content is general wisdom that anyone with many years of experience in the industry has probably seen around before. Something positive I can say about the book is that I totally adhere to the methodology explained in the book. In my software development career, I have experienced myself the benefits of applying similar software development management methodology and I have also seen the negative consequences of not following it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Intro/Refresh for PMs,
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This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)I will not dive into what is either good or bad about this book.
The reason I am giving 5 stars is because the book actually achieves its goal to those who read it.
The reader who gave two stars has actually missed the point of the book. It is not about planning. It is about planning _and_ managing. Successful execution of the right plan is the main point of the book.
Trivial things, you say? Yes, most of the concepts in the book are trivial (yet, very useful when organized nicely and in ready-to-use manner) Nevertheless, again and again I see projects that fail because of the wrong management. In fact, I would dare to say that all projects that failed in front of my eyes (and there were enough failed projects in my life) are due to mostly management issues: lack of vision, disconnection from team, "planned" overtime, unrealistic schedules due to pressure from upper management etc.
Inability to recognize management problem quickly leads to catastrophic results for mid-size companies and this books may prevent this for those who care.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro / light reading,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)Good intro / light reading
McConnell's "Software Project Survival Guide" (SPSG) is a good intro to application development projects using the phased-release waterfall methodology. Unlike other software engineering overviews, he does not assume that his audience is sold on process in general, so he spends some time arguing and presenting facts and stats to support structured project management and software development.
The author presents most of the integral concepts of the discipline and maintains a companion website with templates and checklists. He shares his experience on what development managers should expect from their developers, testers, corporate culture and customers. I read SPSG when it first came out and recently completed it again for a refresh. Although the book is now six years old, the material is still relevant because of the level at which it is presented, even in today's landscape of customized COTS and web services applications.
It gets four stars rather than five because in the last third of the book he takes arbitrary dives into detail before he exhausts the breadth of the subject. For instance, he only once refers in passing to regression-testing and never mentions the concept of SDLC environments, yet offers up formulas for estimating defects using pooling and seeding. Chapters seem to get shorter as if he was in a hurry to finish. As SPSG is relatively short at 250 pages, it seems the author could have easily included another 50 pages to hit those missed topics at a high-level.
SPSG is great for the new manager but is less useful for the experienced manager or as a reference. Fortunately, he includes an annotated bibliography on resources that provide more detail.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but Light,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)This was good, but a little light. I have really liked the author's other works and so I expected a lot from this. Maybe that was part of it. I could not give this five stars because it was a little light on details, especially at the end. However, there is a lot of good project information here, from years of experience. Just the fact that it is not huge is a good thing -- too many 40-page books are turned into 600-page tomes so they give an aura of respectability.
If you are new to software project management, this is an excellent book to start with (five stars). If you want to get a quick refresher on good ways to run a project, with some modern-day approaches, this is also good. Give it a try.
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - for newcomers to the software project field.,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)Steve McConnell is better known for his two bestsellers - Rapid Development and Code Complete. While those two books are more detailed, this book has the necessary preliminary coverage of what it takes to make a software project succeed. It's a very easy book to read and can probably be read in a matter of a few hours.
Steve assumes that the intended audience belongs to one of three groups of people - first group consists of 'top managers, executives, clients, investors, and end-user representatives', the second group consists of 'project managers', and the third group consists of 'technical leaders, professional developers, and self-taught programmers'. Or as he puts it 'anyone who has a stake in the software project's outcome'. But mostly he is assuming that you may not be exposed to many successful software project techniques and looking to rapidly get up to speed on a simple technique like the one outlined in this book.
The book addresses projects that have team sizes between 3 and 25 and schedules of 3 to 18 months. The plan is supposed to work for various types of software systems like client-server or scientific but I didn't see web design projects mentioned explicitly. It could be because of the time this book was published. I plan on trying the techniques on a couple of non-critical web design projects and analyze the outcome.
The book is 19 chapters, 250 pages and 4 sections. The four main sections are The Survival Mind-Set, Survival Preparations, Succeeding by Stages, and Mission Accomplished. The book starts out with a short welcome chapter on software project survival training and followed by another short chapter on assessing the state of your own project from a survival perspective (you take a test and get a score that indicates where your project is). The next three chapters focus on the survival concepts, survival skills, and the profile of a successful project. The book then goes into the core of how to make a software project succeed.
This book is no substitute for the author's other book 'Rapid Development' though it is probably a good start if you aren't willing to cover the much larger book (other 600+ pages). Considering how few books have been written on software projects (that are not an exposition of SEI's CMM or the Rational Unified Process), I think this is a worthwhile book to read. At the bare minimum, it doesn't hurt to skim through the various topics and take away a good technique or two that you can immediately apply to your own software project. Good luck!
2.0 out of 5 stars If you need to read this You're in the wrong business,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)No statment in this book is incorrect, or even inaccurate. The problem with it is it goes on and on about a number of simple, if not trivially obvious facts about how to manage a project. The main one which occupies hundreds of pages is "PLAN YOUR PROJECT".
So if you could not have thought of these on your own, or ever did anything more complicated than playing tic-tac-toe without discovering this book's type of advice, you have no business managing a software project.
However, if you skip all the obvious advice (averaging about 1/70 pages) and enjoy reading phrases like "Executive Sponsorship", "Mushy Milestones", and "inch pebbles" this book is for you. But please buy mine... cheap!
4.0 out of 5 stars Project Management Review,
This review is from: Software Project Survival Guide (Paperback)This book was required for one of my graduate courses. However, I found it to be very useful reference book for software development project management. Boring read, but mandatory for anyone who wants to learn more about project management.
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Software Project Survival Guide by Steve McConnell (Paperback - Oct. 22 1997)
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