Wireless Systems Design

How To Survive Doomed Software Projects

Before reviewing the second edition of this book, I dusted off my copy of the original. It had served me well as a software-development manager. It had even helped me spot troubled projects that I should avoid. In addition, the first volume of Death March had several good suggestions for surviving projects that had already gone astray.

The second edition has been expanded to include several new chapters that cover topics like critical-chain scheduling, time management, and software-development process dynamics. Most of the original material has been expanded as well. For example, there is a more detailed discussion of Abdel-Hamid's software process model, which focuses on the challenges of hiring and assimilating new programmers. One of my favorite expanded chapters is titled, "Simulators and 'War Games.'" It includes more specifics as to the benefits of practicing death-march projects before they begin.

One of the more unusual aspects of this book is the inclusion of actual e-mail correspondences from colleagues of the author. These correspondences provide a wealth of real-world observations and wit. I applaud the author for giving credit to these fine contributors.

This is definitely a book for the working software developer and manager. One of the most telling passages comes from the section of best and worst practices. The author writes simply, "If I've recommended something that doesn't make sense and that the project team can't carry out with enthusiasm and sincerity, then ignore it!"

Death March, Second Edition, was written by Edward Yourdon. Prentice Hall is the publisher (ISBN 0-1314-635X). The book sells for $29.95.

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