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Managing the Black Hole: The Executive's Guide to Software Project Risk Paperback – March 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Business Expert Publishing (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935602012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935602019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,309,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Gack is President of Process-Fusion.net, based in Fleming Isle, Florida (USA). He is an MBA graduate of the Wharton School, is a Six Sigma Black Belt, an ASQ-certified software quality engineer, ITIL-F certified, and is a Certified Scrum Master. Process Fusion provides consulting, training, and coaching related to business and software process improvement, with emphasis on "best of breed" integration of proven best practices and models, including Lean Six Sigma, CMMI, PMBoK, ITIL, and Agile methods. To contact me or for more information see www.Process-Fusion.net

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By goliath100 on March 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
A must read for any C level leader or general manager who feels at the mercy of software development / IT and needs software on time and on cost with sensible business value. This book hits the mark in explaining methods of improving business results from software development projects to those not involved in the day to day world of software. It explains software improvements in terms general leaders can relate to: measurement, feedback, and repeatability and identifies reasons and cures for out of control software costs. I would hand this book out to leaders who unknowingly put software projects in impossible positions with unachievable schedules, impossible costs and lack of stakeholder satisfaction. It also provides technical leaders with language to explain software to executives.

This book is a quick read and worth every minute of it. Gary's combination of business sense and software are apparent throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Milton Austin on March 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
A good tome on a somewhat little understood area that affects management of projects in the IT field. Readers can relate their environment and development efforts clearly since Gack has included sufficient illustrative data to make his case. I especially liked the insertion of Executive Summaries in Part Three so that should some senior management, i.e., non-IT, desire not to examine all the detailed discussions they could maintain continuity and understanding of the material. Gack's work may very well be a definitive book on this subject for the foreseeable future.
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Format: Paperback
Gary Gack's depth of knowledge in IT project management comes through on every page. His book is filled with gems on how to make your projects more successful, and I recommend it for all IT PMs and executives (much applies for non-IT leaders as well).

One of the core principles he bases his book on is that there are two categories of companies: 1) Mature Organizations (15%) versus 2) Immature Organizations (85%). He first details why the "Immature 85%" (most companies!) tend to consistently do very poorly on estimating, scheduling, quality management, sizing, risk management, and measurements. He then follows through with his outstanding "What You Can Do About It" section, detailing clear and actionable advice based on the proven success rates of the Mature 15%.

A few of the key questions covered very well in this book:
- Do you do ONLY top-down or bottom-up estimating, or know how to use both in combination?
- Do you re-baseline whenever the scope of your project changes? And if so, how does that affect your measurements?
- Which do you emphasize more, process or performance? And how about schedule versus quality?
- Do you know how to contract for quality in your procurements?
- Do you log successive estimates, and use them to improve your processes?
- Do you know your defect containment rate?
- Do you know how to use EV Lite?
- Do you adequately factor "project sizing" into your risk assessments?
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Format: Paperback
Software projects and especially large ones have a melancholy tendency to overrun their budgets, slip their schedules, fail completely, or be filled with bugs when released. Two key reasons are the primary causes: 1) poor quality control; 2)poor measurement.

Gary Gack's book is a concise and excellent guide to how quantification and quality control can lead to much better software, and do so while reducing costs and schedules.

Since a majority of software managers are not particularly well trained in estimating, planning, quality control, or measurement this book is a very solid guide that provides enough data to be helpful and enough insight to be instructive.

Capers Jones
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lee B. Salz on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gary Gack bridges a gap that so few could. A Wharton grad and IT guru, Gary translates "tech-talk" into easy-to-understand business language.If you've ever run a business, you are greatly familiar with the "black hole" that can eat away at profits and not yield results. Read this book and adopt its teachings. Gary has provided you with insight you've never had into your software projects.

~Lee B. Salz - Award-Winning Author and Sales Management Strategist, Sales Architects
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