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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules 1st Edition

120 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1556159008
ISBN-10: 1556159005
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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules + Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition + The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition)
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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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (July 12, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556159005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556159008
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By TrustNoOne on July 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
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 By Abhinav Agarwal VINE VOICE on August 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tom O Bjorkholm on October 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on December 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
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 By M. Kisialiou on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
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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