Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects

Addison-Wesley
8
Free sample

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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Features
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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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Tom DeMarco

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.

Tom DeMarco
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.
Tom DeMarco
This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).

 

Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .

 

Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”

 

But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.

 

In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.

 

The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you’ll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them.

 

The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what’s happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. You’ll find classic patterns such as these: 

News Improvement Management by Mood Ring Piling On Rattle Yer Dags Natural Authority Food++ Fridge Door and more than eighty more! 

Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you’ll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.

 

Tom DeMarco
This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).

 

Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .

 

Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”

 

But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.

 

In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.

 

The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you’ll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them.

 

The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what’s happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. You’ll find classic patterns such as these: 

News Improvement Management by Mood Ring Piling On Rattle Yer Dags Natural Authority Food++ Fridge Door and more than eighty more! 

Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you’ll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.

 

Morten Storm
Morten Storm siempre fue un yihadista poco convencional. Danés, pelirrojo y de metro ochenta y cinco de altura, pasó su adolescencia metiéndose en líos con su banda de moteros y entrando y saliendo de la cárcel. Hasta que un día leyó un libro sobre Mahoma que le cautivó y se embarcó en una metamorfosis que lo llevaría a una escuela de yihadistas en Yemen, a llamar a su hijo Osama —en homenaje a Bin Laden— y a convertirse en amigo personal de Anuar al-Aulaki, el rostro más conocido de Al Qaeda en la península arábiga.

Durante diez años, Storm buscó darle sentido a su vida a través del salafismo más radical. Luego, tan rápido como había venido, su fe se diluyó y Morten se dejó seducir por los cantos de sirena de las agencias de espionaje más importantes del mundo, muy interesadas en su red de contactos. Así fue como acabó trabajando para los servicios secretos daneses, el MI5 y la CIA, en misiones de altos vuelos en las que durante cinco años se jugó la vida. Todas con un solo objetivo final: acabar con al-Aulaki.

«Como un guión para una película de James Bond escrito por los hermanos Coen.» Washington Post

«Escalofriante. El sargento Brody de Homeland hecho carne y hueso.» GQ

«Es tanto una lectura apasionante como un relato desde dentro del espionaje occidental en la era de Al Qaeda, y una valiosa mirada a los dos bandos de una guerra subterránea y letal.» The New York Times Book Review

«No existe ningún otro libro en el que el protagonista haya tenido un papel tan principal para los servicios secretos occidentales y, aún más importante, esté preparado para revelar tanto.» The Guardian

Tom DeMarco

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.

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