Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules

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9781556159008: Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules
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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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Review:

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.

About the Author:

Steve McConnell is recognized as one of the premier authors and voices in the development community. He is Chief Software Engineer of Construx Software and was the lead developer of Construx Estimate and of SPC Estimate Professional, winner of Software Development magazine's Productivity Award. He is the author of several books, including Code Complete and Rapid Development, both honored with Software Development magazine's Jolt Award.

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