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Managing Software for Growth: Without Fear, Control, and the Manufacturing Mindset Paperback – July 22, 2003

ISBN-13: 007-6092018438 ISBN-10: 0321117433

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (July 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321117433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321117434
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,756,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The IT professional's guide to delivering exceptional software development projects.

One of the biggest problems facing businesses today is the effective delivery of software development projects. Recent surveys show that almost 75% of software development projects are either over budget, late, undeliverable, or cancelled outright. After more than 30 years of making software in an increasingly global economy dominated by technology, why is creating software still so hard?

Software development expert Roy Miller answers this and other questions in Managing Software for Growth, the first truly insightful guide for industry observers and IT leaders who struggle to make great software despite the challenges. Contents include:

  • The nature of the beast—why software projects fail, and what to do about it
  • How rigor, formalism, and "science" have created barriers to software development
  • Chaos, complexity, and emergence in complex adaptive systems
  • Moving beyond the "manufacturing mindset," which makes no sense for software
  • Practical advice on how to start growing software

From philosophical evaluations of software engineering to nuts-and-bolts realism, Miller reveals the inner workings of the software development process in a way that will change the way people think about IT. Software development needs radical change to meet the challenges of the new century. For anyone involved in the process of software creation, Managing Software for Growth can help begin that process.

About the Author

ROY MILLER has spent over 10 years in IT, beginning with several large projects as a team lead and project manager at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), and most recently as a team lead, manager, and XP Coach at RoleModel Software. During that decade, he kept telling himself, "There has to be a more realistic way to create software people want and need." Managing Software for Growth is the result of his desire to prove it. Miller is the author of numerous articles and papers, and is the co-author of Extreme Programming Applied (Addison-Wesley), which he wrote with Ken Auer in 2002.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Hayes on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the oldest dilemmas in software development has been "Is software development art or science?". Of course, it's neither, but the science and engineering mindset has generally held sway, and deviations from this approach have been treated as aberrations, to be eliminated so that we could be more 'scientific'. But what if that's the wrong direction?
Roy Miller explores the origins of the scientific/engineering/manufacturing mindset in software engineering, and then goes on to suggest reasons why this metaphor might not be appropriate for modern software development. He weaves strands from a number of disparate disciplines, including biology and chaos theory, to suggest alternative approaches to software development. Multi-disciplinary approaches are a common theme in modern scientific research, and it's good to see someone bringing these influences to software development.
Roy's fundamental message (and he of course justifies this in detail), is that if you're looking for predictability in software development, you better get over it. Software development is a messy, human endeavour, and if we keep doing what we did, we'll keep getting what we got. Roy suggests alternative metaphors and approaches that might be more succesful in growing software.
I see that at least one other reviewer has commented that the Taylorist manufacturing mindset can be applied successfully to software development. Even if that's true, it doesn't make it the only game in town, and it's worth reading Miller's work for an alternative. My own experience suggests that the Taylorist manufacturing model only works when a software project is large enough to make individual human differences irrelevant, and that projects of that size are becoming less common, and generally fail anyway.
Read this book, even it it makes you uncomfortable or doesn't change your mind. You'll gain at least one new idea, and that's worth the price of admission.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brad Appleton on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read thru early review drafts of this book made available from the yahoo-group website for the book. What I liked most about it is that it was able to successfully convey to me not only the "manufacturing mind-set" it describes (in contrast to agility), but it also conveyed the foundations of that mindset and why it is held by so many in the industry. I never really had a good enough appreciation for that until reading this book.
I think the book also does the same "justice" to the agile-mindset for "growing" software thru "emergence". It describes the foundations of agility and emergence, where they come from, what they mean, and what evidence there is and isnt for their validity.
The book touches on elements of Taylorist management theory, as well as complexity theory in an approachable manner that doesnt require an advanced degree in math or physics (which is a plus :-).
I also particularly like the annotated biliography at the end of the book. It lists more than just the titles of the "giants" the author stood upon to write this one, it excerpts and distills the key central concepts from each one that are relevant to the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marco Dorantes on December 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a very important work that helps the software industry to take much needed steps to gain reliability and authority again.
As software development is unique, due its many singularities in people management, processes, design methods and tools, Roy Miller point us in a very sensible direction accordingly to software development realities.
This is a very important work for software development professionals to get skill
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cohn on October 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book starts by describing how Taylor's Scientific Management has lead us down the incorrect road of thinking software can be managed like steel manufacturing. The author does a great job of presenting these fundamentals and presenting the conclusion that a new model for thinking about software is needed.
To find an alternative model the author draws on ideas from complexity science. He presents the idea that we need to think of software as growing rather than something we control if we can just add one more level of detail to our Gantt charts. If we think of software as emerging from the environment in which it is started we can exert influence on the growth of the software so that it grows toward our goals. However, we still can't control it like we can control steel manufacturing or an assembly line.
An earlier reviewer has commented that there is much to disagree with in this book. I think the author of the book would scream "Yes! Exactly!" Of course there's much to argue and debate with in this book. The book is full of original thinking and is proposing a radical shift in the thinking of most software professionals; that is bound to stir up debate and some disagreement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Duff OMelia on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is THE book I recommend to clients who are hesitant to use an agile approach in developing software. It's an excellent book for both managers and developers.
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