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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules [Kindle Edition]

Steve McConnell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)

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Paperback $22.79  
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Book Description

Corporate and commercial software-development teams all want solutions for one important problem—how to get their high-pressure development schedules under control. In RAPID DEVELOPMENT, author Steve McConnell addresses that concern head-on with overall strategies, specific best practices, and valuable tips that help shrink and control development schedules and keep projects moving. Inside, you’ll find:

  • A rapid-development strategy that can be applied to any project and the best practices to make that strategy work
  • Candid discussions of great and not-so-great rapid-development practices—estimation, prototyping, forced overtime, motivation, teamwork, rapid-development languages, risk management, and many others
  • A list of classic mistakes to avoid for rapid-development projects, including creeping requirements, shortchanged quality, and silver-bullet syndrome
  • Case studies that vividly illustrate what can go wrong, what can go right, and how to tell which direction your project is going
  • RAPID DEVELOPMENT is the real-world guide to more efficient applications development.

Editorial Reviews Review

I can hear some of you exclaiming, "How can you possibly recommend a book about software scheduling published by Microsoft Press and written by a consultant to Microsoft?!" Well, put aside any preconceived biases. This is a tremendous book on effective scheduling software development, and it drinks deeply from the wisdom of all the classics in the field such as Brook's Mythical Man Month -- and is likely well-informed by McConnell's experiences, good and bad, in Redmond.

The nine page section entitled "Classic Mistakes Enumerated" is alone worth the price of admission and should be required reading for all developers, leads, and managers. Here are some types of the 36 classic mistakes that McConnell describes in detail:

  • People Related Mistakes
    • Heroics
    • Adding people to a late project
    • Politics placed over substance (etc.)

  • Process Related Mistakes
    • Abandonment of planning under pressure
    • Planning to catch up later
    • "Code-like-hell" programming (etc.)

  • Technology Related Mistakes
    • Silver-Bullet syndrome
    • Overestimating savings from new tools or methods
    • Switching tools in the middle of a project (etc.)

I suspect that if you've ever been involved in software development, you winced after reading each of these nine points. And you will learn a great deal from the remaining 640 pages about concrete solutions.

My only substantive gripe: cheesy Powerpoint graphics. Nonetheless, this book is Very Highly Recommended.

About the Author

Steve McConnell is recognized as one of the premier authors and voices in the development community. He is Chief Software Engineer of Construx Software and was the lead developer of Construx Estimate and of SPC Estimate Professional, winner of Software Development magazine's Productivity Award. He is the author of several books, including Code Complete and Rapid Development, both honored with Software Development magazine's Jolt Award.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3153 KB
  • Print Length: 674 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (July 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OR1XXS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,464 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
As a developer, you have been on that project.  The one that seems that it will never end. Requirements change daily, testing seems to discover new bugs faster than you can fix them, release dates come and go and noone seems to know when the project will be completed. If you're like me, maybe you thought that was just the way software projects were.
And then I read this book. Chapter 3 contains a case study of classic mistakes.  It sounded like every project I had ever worked on. Steve McConnell shows you how to avoid those mistakes, and how to leverage best practices in planning and development to achieve maximum predictability and control over your software schedule.  This should be required reading for all software project managers, technical leads and top management.  
While it's a long book, it lends itself to easy browsing. You can almost dip in at random and find some useful tip on how to improve your chances of bringing your project in on time and unde! r budget. But you'll want to read it straight through at least once. The last section of the book is devoted to individual Best Practices.  Each practice is explained along with its risks and benefits. Not all practices will be applicable to all projects, and the book guides you through when each is appropriate along with what practices it compliments.
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Guide With Real Life Examples August 3, 2003
Steve McConnell's books have always displayed a remarkable degree of practicality and readability. This book is no different.
The author says at the outset the Purpose of the book is to answer issues about trade-offs. The author says that software can be optimized for any of several goals: lowest defect rate, lowest cost, or shortest development, etc... Software Engineering is then about achieving tradeoffs, and this is what this book is primarily about.
Because the book is so big, it has been broken into sections that can be read selectively and quickly. A short book would have oversimplified things to the point of uselessness.
Organization of the book:
Parts 1, 2 deal with the Strategy and Philosophy of rapid development, while part 3 covers Rapid develoment best practices
In chapter 3 the author talks about 'Classic Mistakes'. He calls them 'classic' and 'seductive' because they are so easy to make that they have been repeated in countless projects.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading -- Great reference October 31, 1999
The author of this book does not present "the one and only rapid development process". Instead the book presents in great detail over 20 good practices that are known to speed up development. The reader is expected to combine these practices to get a good combination for the current project.
The language in the book is smooth and the author really tries to explain in a simple and easy to understand way. I still needed a lot of time to read the book, simply because of the enormous amounts of information in the book.
The book includes a lot of statistical data. This is really great to have if you get into an argument with management about if the schedule is achievable.
The book is published by Microsoft Press. As I am very far from being a Microsoft fan, I was very sceptical at first. But the book is really great and applicable to all software development projects, including those on UNIX and embedded systems.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RAPID DEVELOPMENT: The project manager's Bible December 31, 1997
By A Customer
I work for an Internet software development company, and I have made this book required reading for every project manager and technical lead in our company. McConnell's combination of conceptual knowledge, supported by hard facts, is a rare thing in software development "how-tos."
The best-practices section at the back of the book is an invaluable reference. His "bad" case studies depressed me sometimes -- mainly because they were too close to my own projects -- but the "good" ones have become the scripts for my presentations to clients. He has a way of capturing the essence of the atmosphere in a development shop, so the case studies feel as if they took place in your own office.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone whose job is managing the development process, whether that be in a technical lead or a project management position. Maybe if more people read this book and follow its guidelines, we could all stop working weekends.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bible of project management August 30, 2005
I have bought this book occasionally because of the well-known name of Steve McConnell. Originally I was confused by the title that seemed to indicate another super methodology that promised heavens. No need to say that I was skeptical about it. Do not look at the title, although this book emphasizes its value for the fast paced projects, it is THE BOOK on project management as a whole. In general, the book comprises practical knowledge of generations of project managers. Do not miss your chance to get it now easy in few days what took some people's life time to learn! Amidst lots of practical examples, you will also find an exciting style and lots of must-know suggestions on small, middle and large size projects. I believe that any project manager must read this book if she/he has not done it yet. In addition to what is covered in the book, the author provides lots of links and references in case you need to explore the area in more detail. The time you will save after reading this book is worth much, much more than this book costs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Was well worth the time to read it.
It might be somewhat dated, but it was well worth the read.
It had a lot of meat to the book.
I would recommend Team Lead's read this to give you some extra ideas about... Read more
Published 11 months ago by T. Hollins
5.0 out of 5 stars the best book on software project management ever written
It does not matter that this is over 15 years old. It is every bit as relevant today. My students loved it.
Published 11 months ago by Dwight J. Worker
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavily outdated
I didn't finished the book so maybe it has something at the end.

The fact of the matter is. This book is outdated. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Johan S
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book if you're being forced to read it!
Had to buy this for a class and it was a good, informative read. Great for future software developers and managers alike.
Published 17 months ago by BL
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for everyone involved in software development
This is a must read for experienced and new people. I found it an easy fast read and have lived through many of the scenarios described. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lawrence Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Still my favorite book on software development practices
I bought this book when it first came out in 1996. Aside from a few dated references, the information is just as pertinent today as it was then. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Tim A
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!!
This book gives a lot of information on how to plan your softweare projects. A must for anyone that plans software development projects.
Published on March 23, 2013 by G. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best book about Project Managment in Software development
In my opition this is one of the best book about Project Managment in Software development. I regret that I didn't read it before
Published on February 17, 2013 by Skachkov Alexandr
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best project management treatments I've seen
I've had this book in my libary for many years and I refer back to it frequently. Despite its title, its not about coding faster, but about running project in a more reasonable... Read more
Published on October 21, 2011 by RTR
5.0 out of 5 stars The 98th 5 star review
This book ranks at the same level with MMM, Code Complete & Pragmatic Programmer.
Another Software Engineering classic
Published on May 5, 2010 by Steven Koh
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More About the Author

I am founder and CEO at Construx Software ( I've written Code Complete, Software Estimation, Rapid Development, Software Project Survival Guide, and Professional Software Development. I live in Bellevue, WA.

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