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:
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 is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild and 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 taught undergraduate ethics at the University of Maine. He lives with his wife, Sally O. Smyth, in Camden, Maine.
Peter Hruschka, a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild based in Aachen, Germany, is widely regarded as one of the fathers of CASE and modeling tools. He has taught and consulted on system and software development methods since the 1970s, and has worked in more than thirty countries on three continents. He is author of more than a dozen books, mostly in German, dealing with software architecture, requirements engineering, and agile methods. When he is not working, he is usually found with his wife, Monika, in some of the most scenic parts of the world, trying to hit little white balls into holes that are far too small.
Tim Lister divides his time among consulting, teaching, and writing. He is coauthor, with Tom DeMarco, of Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects (Dorset House Publishing, 2003) and Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, originally published by Dorset House in 1987 and now in its third edition (Addison-Wesley, 2013). Based in Manhattan, he is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild; a member of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Cutter IT Trends Council; and a Cutter Fellow.
Steve McMenamin is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hawaiian Electric Co., and a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild, based in Southern California. Before joining Hawaiian Electric, he held executive positions at Borland Software Corp., BEA Systems, Inc., and Southern California Edison. He is also coauthor of Essential Systems Analysis (Prentice Hall, 1984).
James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson have helped hundreds of companies improve their requirements techniques and move into the fast lane of system development. Their courses and seminars on requirements, analysis, and design are widely praised for their innovative approach. The Robertsons are London-based principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, specializing in the human dimensions of complex system building. They are also coauthors of Complete Systems Analysis (Dorset House, 1994) and Mastering the Requirements Process, Third Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2012), and are the developers of the Volere requirements techniques.
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 includeAnalysis 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
Written in a remarkably clear style, Creating a Software Engineering Culture presents a comprehensive approach to improving the quality and effectiveness of the software development process.
In twenty chapters spread over six parts, Wiegers promotes the tactical changes required to support process improvement and high-quality software development. Throughout the text, Wiegers identifies scores of culture builders and culture killers, and he offers a wealth of references to resources for the software engineer, including seminars, conferences, publications, videos, and on-line information.
With case studies on process improvement and software metrics programs and an entire part on action planning (called “What to Do on Monday”), this practical book guides the reader in applying the concepts to real life.
Topics include software culture concepts, team behaviors, the five dimensions of a software project, recognizing achievements, optimizing customer involvement, the project champion model, tools for sharing the vision, requirements traceability matrices, the capability maturity model, action planning, testing, inspections, metrics-based project estimation, the cost of quality, and much more!
Principles from Part 1Never let your boss or your customer talk you into doing a bad job. People need to feel the work they do is appreciated. Ongoing education is every team member’s responsibility. Customer involvement is the most critical factor in software quality. Your greatest challenge is sharing the vision of the final product with the customer. Continual improvement of your software development process is both possible and essential. Written software development procedures can help build a shared culture of best practices. Quality is the top priority; long-term productivity is a natural consequence of high quality. Strive to have a peer, rather than a customer, find a defect. A key to software quality is to iterate many times on all development steps except coding: Do this once. Managing bug reports and change requests is essential to controlling quality and maintenance. If you measure what you do, you can learn to do it better. You can’t change everything at once. Identify those changes that will yield the greatest benefits, and begin to implement them next Monday. Do what makes sense; don’t resort to dogma.
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.
The added chapters contain (1) a crisp condensation of all the propositions asserted in the original book, including Brooks' central argument in The Mythical Man-Month: that large programming projects suffer management problems different from small ones due to the division of labor; that the conceptual integrity of the product is therefore critical; and that it is difficult but possible to achieve this unity; (2) Brooks' view of these propositions a generation later; (3) a reprint of his classic 1986 paper "No Silver Bullet"; and (4) today's thoughts on the 1986 assertion, "There will be no silver bullet within ten years."