Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects

Addison-Wesley
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This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2003).

If There’s No Risk On Your Next Project, Don’t Do It.

Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition. By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes–in the name of positive thinking or a can-do attitude–software managers drive their organizations into the ground.

In Waltzing with Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister–the best-selling authors of Peopleware–show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.

The authors present the benefits of risk management, including that it makes aggressive risk-taking possible, protects management from getting blindsided, provides minimum-cost downside protection, reveals invisible transfers of responsibility, isolates the failure of a subproject.

Readers are armed with strategies for confronting the most common risks that software projects face: schedule flaws, requirements inflation, turnover, specification breakdown, and under-performance.

Waltzing with Bears will help you mitigate the risks–before they turn into project-killing problems. Risks are out there–and they should be there–but there is a way to manage them.

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About the author

Tom Demarco and Timothy Lister are principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild (www.systemsguild.com), a consulting firm specializing in the complex processes of system building, with particular emphasis on the human dimension. Together, they have lectured, written, and consulted internationally since 1979 on management, estimating, productivity, and corporate culture.

Tom is the author or coauthor of nine books on subjects ranging from development methods to organizational function and dysfunction, as well as two novels and a book of short stories. His consulting practice focuses primarily on expert witness work, balanced against the occasional project and team consulting assignment. For the past three years, he has been teaching undergraduate ethics at the University of Maine. He lives with his wife, Sally O. Smyth, in Camden, Maine.

Tim divides his time among consulting, teaching, and writing. Based in Manhattan, Tim is coauthor, with Tom DeMarco, of Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior (Dorset House, 2008), written with four other principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, and Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams,Third Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2013). He is a member of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Cutter IT Trends Council, and is a Cutter Fellow.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Addison-Wesley
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Published on
Jul 15, 2013
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9780133492231
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Software Development & Engineering / General
Computers / Software Development & Engineering / Systems Analysis & Design
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Few books in computing have had as profound an influence on software management as Peopleware . The unique insight of this longtime best seller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They’re not easy issues; but solve them, and you’ll maximize your chances of success.

“Peopleware has long been one of my two favorite books on software engineering. Its underlying strength is its base of immense real experience, much of it quantified. Many, many varied projects have been reflected on and distilled; but what we are given is not just lifeless distillate, but vivid examples from which we share the authors’ inductions. Their premise is right: most software project problems are sociological, not technological. The insights on team jelling and work environment have changed my thinking and teaching. The third edition adds strength to strength.”

— Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Kenan Professor of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Author of The Mythical Man-Month and The Design of Design


“Peopleware is the one book that everyone who runs a software team needs to read and reread once a year. In the quarter century since the first edition appeared, it has become more important, not less, to think about the social and human issues in software develop¿ment. This is the only way we’re going to make more humane, productive workplaces. Buy it, read it, and keep a stock on hand in the office supply closet.”

—Joel Spolsky, Co-founder, Stack Overflow


“When a book about a field as volatile as software design and use extends to a third edition, you can be sure that the authors write of deep principle, of the fundamental causes for what we readers experience, and not of the surface that everyone recognizes. And to bring people, actual human beings, into the mix! How excellent. How rare. The authors have made this third edition, with its additions, entirely terrific.”

—Lee Devin and Rob Austin, Co-authors of The Soul of Design and Artful Making

For this third edition, the authors have added six new chapters and updated the text throughout, bringing it in line with today’s development environments and challenges. For example, the book now discusses pathologies of leadership that hadn’t previously been judged to be pathological; an evolving culture of meetings; hybrid teams made up of people from seemingly incompatible generations; and a growing awareness that some of our most common tools are more like anchors than propellers. Anyone who needs to manage a software project or software organization will find invaluable advice throughout the book.

This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 1998, 1994).

In a fundamentally new approach, Complete Systems Analysis teaches everything you need to know about analyzing systems: the methods, the models, the techniques, and more.

A definitive text on modern systems analysis techniques is combined with an extensive case study to give readers hands-on experience in completing an actual analysis project.

Readers proceed through each step of a full-scale analysis project, analyzing the complex requirements of a television station’s airtime programming department. Each phase of the case study and each exercise in the textbook section is thoroughly explained in separate review and answer sections.

An innovative Trail Guide system–inspired by the difficulty levels marked on ski trails–encourages readers to follow a sequence that suits their skill level. Beginners follow the full trail while experienced analysts fill in gaps in their training, refresh their understanding of key concepts, and practice their skills. Managers review key concepts but can skip the detailed work with models.

The book shows how analysis is used for object-oriented implementation, and how event-response data flow models and entity-relationship data models are complementary, not competing, models.

Complete Systems Analysis adapts to the reader’s needs and provides an appropriate learning path for the beginner, with a more direct route for experienced analysts wanting to make better use of today’s techniques. Since its initial publication in 1994 as a two-volume set in hardcover, this highly acclaimed text–released in 1998 as a single, softcover volume–has served as a course text in classes throughout the world.

Topics include

Analysis Models Data Flow Diagrams Data Viewpoint Data Models Leveled Data Flow Diagrams Current Physical Viewpoint Building the Data Dictionary Strategy: Focusing on the Essentials Identifying Events Modeling an Event Response Writing Mini Specifications CRUD Check Modeling New Requirements New Physical Viewpoint Object-Oriented Viewpoint Strategy: Toward Implementation

To most companies, efficiency means profits and growth. But what if your “efficient” company—the one with the reduced headcount and the “stretch” goals—is actually slowing down and losing money? What if your employees are burning out doing the work of two or more people, leaving them no time for planning, prioritizing, or even lunch? What if you’re losing employees faster than you can hire them? What if your superefficient company is suddenly falling behind?

Tom DeMarco, a leading management consultant to both Fortune 500 and up-and-coming companies, has discovered a counterintuitive principle that explains why efficiency improvement can sometimes make a company slow. If your real organizational goal is to become fast (responsive and agile), then he proposes that what you need is not more efficiency, but more slack.

What is “slack”? Slack is the degree of freedom in a company that allows it to change. It could be something as simple as adding an assistant to a department, letting high-priced talent spend less time at the photo copier and more time making key decisions. Slack could also appear in the way a company treats employees: instead of loading them up with overwork, a company designed with slack allows its people room to breathe, increase effectiveness, and reinvent themselves.

In thirty—three short chapters filled with creative learning tools and charts, you and your company can learn how to:

∑make sense of the Efficiency/Flexibility quandary

∑run directly toward risk instead of away from it

∑strengthen the creative role of middle management

∑make change and growth work together for even greater profits

A innovative approach that works for new- and old-economy companies alike, this revolutionary handbook will debunk commonly held assumptions about real-world management, and give you and your company a brand-new model for achieving and maintaining true effectiveness—and a healthier bottom line.


From the Hardcover edition.
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