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Software Development Edge, The: Essays on Managing Successful Projects

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Software Development Edge, The: Essays on Managing Successful Projects

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  • Copyright 2005
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 336
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-278218-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-278218-0

The new software management classic: in-the-trenches wisdom from legendary project leader Joe Marasco

Over the course of a distinguished career, Joe Marasco earned a reputation as the go-to software project manager: the one to call when you were facing a brutally tough, make-or-break project. Marasco reflected on his experiences in a remarkable series of "Franklin's Kite" essays for The Rational Edge, Rational and IBM's online software development magazine. Now, Marasco collects and updates those essays, bringing his unique insights (and humor) to everything from modeling to scheduling, team dynamics to compensation. The result: a new classic that deserves a place alongside Frederick Brooks' The Mythical Man-Month in the library of every developer and software manager. If you want to ship products you're proud of... ship on time and on budget... deliver real customer value... you simply must read The Software Development Edge.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

About the Author.




1. Beginning at the Beginning.

    The Importance of Good Software.

    Hard Rocks in the Swamp.


    The Iterative Problem-Solving Clock.


2. Computational Roots.

    The Precipitator.

    The Answer.

    How This Program Worked.

    Why Was This Generation of Engineers Special?


    Getting to Know the Numbers by Their First Names.

    So How About Those Computers?

    Our Computational Heritage.


3. Mountaineering.

    On Climbing Big Mountains.

    Common Causes of Failure.

    Ingredients for Success.

    The Human Factor.


4. Managing.

    Managing Teams.



5. The Most Important Thing.

    Iterative Development.

    Roscoe Leroy.

    Going Over the Waterfall.

    The Other Extreme.

    Roscoe’s First Picture.

    Roscoe’s Second Picture.

    Wait a Minute!.

    Keeping the Vectors Short.

    The Application to Software Development.

    Applied Learning and Short-Vector Direction.

    Risk Targeting.

    Have You Heard This One Before?

    More on Applied Learning.

    Business Implications.

    The Staffing Effect.

    Just Plain Horse (shoe) Sense.


6. Modeling.

    How to Explain the UML.

    What Is the UML, and Why Is It Important?

    A Second, Less Trivial Example.

    The Third Example.

    And Now for the Relevance to Software…

    Raising the Level of Abstraction.


7. Coding.

    How Managers Can Learn a New Programming Language.

    The Problem, Better Defined.

    What Should the Standard Problem Contain?

    The Animal Game.

    Does the Animal Game Fit the Criteria?

    Does It Pass the “So What?” Test?

    It’s Your Game.


8. Getting It Out the Door.

    If You Build It, They Will Come.

    In the Beginning, There Was the Sandbox.

    Why Should the Product Build Be Hard, Anyway?

    What About Iterative Development?



9. Trade-Offs.

    The Project Pyramid.

    Five, Not Four.

    Enter the Pyramid.

    The Altitude Variable.

    The Pyramid’s Volume Is Constant.

    A Statistical Interlude.

    Right Idea, Wrong Distribution.

    Implications for Real Projects.

    What Does It Take to Get to a Coin Flip?

    More Confidence.

    Important Caveats.

    It’s All About Risk.


10. Estimating.

    What If We Used Common Sense?

    Chocolate Versus Vanilla.

    Roscoe Explains.

    Roscoe Goes Deeper.

    Roscoe’s Calendar.

    Roscoe Computes.

    Roscoe Gets into Software.

    Roscoe Reports In.

    Guess We Did Something Right.

    Roscoe Sums It Up .

    Roscoe Picks a Bone.

    Guess We Did Something Right, Part Two.

    Roscoe Admitted to Software Project Manager Fraternity.


11. Scheduling.

    Roscoe Poses the Problem: How Late Are You Gonna Be?

    Joe Makes a Slight Comeback.

    Roscoe Returns.

    Roscoe’s Rogue’s Gallery.

    Roscoe’s Graph.

    One Last Objection.

    Roscoe’s Parting Shot.


12. Rhythm.

    A Physicist Looks at Project Progress.

    Reality Intrudes.

    What About Iterative Development?

    One Last Graph.



13. Politics.



    Three Scenarios.

    Politics Is Inevitable, But…

    When Things Get Political.

    The Engineering Mapping.

    High-Trust Environments.

    Other Variants of Bad Politics.


14. Negotiating.

    Communication Is Everything.

    Roscoe Explains His Theory.

    Are We Done Yet?


15. Signing Up.

    Roscoe Gets His Nose Bloodied…

    …And Immediately Cuts to the Chase.

    Vesuvius Erupts.

    How They Do It in Texas.

    The Relevance to Software.

    The Dog Ate My Homework.

    Spec Wars?

    The Three Most Common Excuses.

    And Another Thing…

    Thrust, Parry, and Riposte.

    Large Project Chicken.

    The End of Software Development as We Know It?

    Elaboration Versus Construction.

    Tough Love.


16. Compensation.

    Going for the Flow.

    Flow and Software Development Performance.

    Applying the Flow Model to Compensation.

    Money Isn’t Always the Answer.



17. History Lesson.

    Don’t Let the King Be Your Architect.

    Things Aren’t Always as They Seem.

    Checking the Design.

    Knowing What You Don’t Know.

    Continuity of Leadership.

    In a Hurry, As Usual.

    Focusing on the Wrong Features.

    When the Design Is Bad…

    The Relevance of Testing.

    Prototype Versus Product.

    The Inquest.


18. Bad Analogies.

    Houston, We Have a Problem.

    Fig Newtons.

    Everything’s Relative.

    Quantum Nonsense.

    Heat Death.

    Other Examples.

    Good Science.


19. The Refresh Problem.

    Refreshing Embedded Software.

    The Current Situation.

    The Software Upgrade Game.

    A Modest Proposal.

    Software Upgrades, Revisited.

    Some Nice Things Come for Free.

    Why This Will Work.


    What About Software Piracy?

    Until the Sun Takes Over.


20. Not So Random Numbers.

    Roscoe Sets the Stage.

    Simulating the Batter.

    First Steps.

    Second Steps.

    Generating More Probabilities.

    Of Course, We’ve Already Left the World of Baseball.

    Reality Is Ugly.

    Monday’s Solution.

    Lessons Learned.



21. Crisis.

    The Five Days of the Fish.

    The Fish Market.

    Day 1: Unaware.

    Day 2: Avoiding the Issue.

    Day 3: Enter “The Fixer”.

    Day 4: The Turning Point.

    Day 5: Two Critical Paths.

    Moral of the Story.


22. Growth.

    Growth Issues.

    The Naïve Model.

    Consequences of the Model.

    An Illustrative Example.


    Call to Action.





23. Culture.

    What Is a Culture?

    Strong and Weak Cultures.

    Defining Corporate Values.

    And the Applicability to Software Is…

    Building a Strong Culture.

    When You’re Looking for a Job…

    The Bottom Line.


24. Putting It All Together.




    More on Mensches.

    Population Distribution.

    Some Final Thoughts on the Model.





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