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Dynamics of Software Development (Pro-Best Practices)

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0735623194
ISBN-10: 0735623198
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

McCarthy has distilled a veteran's hard-won know-how into 54 memorable, pragmatic maxims - short essays on defining, building, shipping, and marketing software successfully, whether commercially or in-house. With a grown-up wit that's by turns homespun and sophisticated, McCarthy tells you how to maintain your cool ("Don't Flip the Bozo Bit"), organize a crack team ("Get Their Heads into the Game"), analyze the customer and the competition ("Alone? A Market Without a Competitor Ain't"), handle uncertainty and schedule slips ("When You Slip, Don't Fall"), make commitments with integrity ("Be like the Doctors"), and stabilize the product so that you can ship it ("Don't Shake the Jell-O"). McCarthy shows you how to develop a marketing message and how to launch your product too, and in the appendix, he tells you how to hire smart people and keep them happy and productive. Along the way, McCarthy meditates on software aesthetics and familiar software development phenomena - the "death march to Egghead", burn-out, internecine quarrels, being lost in software, the software dream and successive awakenings, the self-critical customer. McCarthy's preoccupation with the dynamics of the process infected his brother, artist Patrick McCarthy, with a sense of the "rich, deep, psychocultural extravaganza" that is software development, and themes both humorous and dark emerge in the handsome illustrations for the book. You'll find Dynamics of Software Development as engrossing and exciting as software development itself. This book is destined to be read by software designers, developers, marketers, technical managers, and industry insiders for many years to come.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michele McCarthy developed many of the team formation concepts that McCarthy Technologies teaches and is a codeveloper of the Core 3.0 Protocols. Michele is the coauthor of Software for Your Head.

Jim McCarthy is president of McCarthy Technologies, a consultancy that helps develop high-performance software development teams worldwide. Before starting his business, Jim worked at Microsoft Corporation for many years and led the team that developed Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0.


Product Details

  • Series: Pro-Best Practices
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press (August 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735623198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735623194
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You hear a lot today that talent is so scarce, esp. in the field of programming. Well, that's one of the biggest lies of our times. I've found Jim McCarthy's book extremely helpful in finding valuable characteristics programmers have. Programming is a lot more than just writing code and this book will help you see that. It'll encourage you to find out the other parts of software development and how people who may not know the latest buzzwords are nevertheless far more capable than the industry tends to give them credit.
It'll definitely cause you to question your processes of software development (do you have any where you work?), esp. if you believe that your way is the only way. Programming is much more about problem solving, so will you be versatile enough to welcome the many ways that many gifted individuals are able to design and create software, even when it's not what you originally had in mind?
I've found the Appendix extremely helpful. I love the part where Jim explains that the biggest mistake hiring managers make is their present obsession with buzzwords of the day, buzzwords which 2 to 4 years later become obsolete. Instead, what's really needed is to understand how a programmer uses technology to solve the problems at hand. The way programmers are evaluated during job interviews are in many places so inaccurate as this book points out, and you'll also get some ideas as to how to rectify this.
Probably the only people I have found who are not turned on by this book are those who say that software development and computers in general have no place for "touchy-feely" aspects like motivation and job satisfaction. But for those who want to find more of a human connection with the programming they do, I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
The title of the book, " 'Dynamics' of Sofware Development", describes very well how this book differs from the rest of Software Development Management books.
If you are looking for Gantt charts and templates for software specs, there are other good books out there for you.
This book is about the "Dynamics" of creating great software.
If you want to learn how to channel the chaos of a software team (department, company) into a powerful and unified force, to lead your team (whether or not you are the official "project manager") to create great products, to win every time, and to just plain enjoy work, this is the book.
Some scientist once said "A great theory, formulated well, is just common sense". When you read the book, you will have many "aha!" moments as you realize the real dynamics behind your current project challenges. The appropriate actions will be just "commonsense" after that.
The book gives you the context of the real dynamics of software, a good framework (the five stages), practical know-how of how to create high-performance software teams, and a tremendous set of tools to communicate what's going to those around you (I particularly like "don't shake the jello").
I bought the book soon after I founded my company, when there were only 10 people sitting in a cramped office. Since then, we've grown tremendously (public on NASDAQ), and use many of the concepts in the book in our organizational design for the R&D group.
This book is one of the 7 non-technical books I consider as the cornerstone of any software development library.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book delivers great insight into what goes on in software development. Although presented in the context of work performed on Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0, the author does a good job of generalizing specific experience. McCarthy gives us an honest look into the ups and downs without sugar coating or promising silver bullets.
Presented in a format similar to Meyers' "Effective C++" books, the text flows very well and is a pleasure to read. When you read many of the pitfals presented, you may think "Duh!". However, these are things that I see happen regularly. Here are some of the highlights.
Rule #2 "Get Their Heads Into The Game". This sounds like a very simple rule. Everyone on the team needs to be contributing ideas toward creating intellectual property. However, most people know this is easier said than done. McCarthy goes on to explain the barriers to the flow of ideas.
Rule #4 "Don't Flip The Bozo Bit". This rule is necessary to keep #2 working. The author deals with the natural tendency that people have to become defensive when criticism is offered of their ideas. This can actually cause both the critic and the one being criticized to tune each other out. The author suggests that team members call each other on it when the Bozo Bit is being flipped.
Rule #25 "Don't Accept Dictation". This topic is addressed in many other texts, but that fact should tell us that we aren't getting it. McCarthy reminds us that it is foolish to accept dictation of scheudle, features, and resources. The "Holy Triangle" has to be balanced and tradeoffs are required when changing any one of these three. Managers are encouraged to be strong and take a stand when they find themselves in this situation.
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