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Software Project Survival Guide (Developer Best Practices) [Paperback]

by Steve McConnell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 25, 1997 1572316217 978-1572316218 1

Equip yourself with SOFTWARE PROJECT SURVIVAL GUIDE. It's for everyone with a stake in the outcome of a development project--and especially for those without formal software project management training. That includes top managers, executives, clients, investors, end-user representatives, project managers, and technical leads.

Here you'll find guidance from the acclaimed author of the classics CODE COMPLETE and RAPID DEVELOPMENT. Steve McConnell draws on solid research and a career's worth of hard-won experience to map the surest path to your goal--what he calls "one specific approach to software development that works pretty well most of the time for most projects." Nineteen chapters in four sections cover the concepts and strategies you need for mastering the development process, including planning, design, management, quality assurance, testing, and archiving. For newcomers and seasoned project managers alike, SOFTWARE PROJECT SURVIVAL GUIDE draws on a vast store of techniques to create an elegantly simplified and reliable framework for project management success.

So don't worry about wandering among complex sets of project management techniques that require years to sort out and master. SOFTWARE PROJECT SURVIVAL GUIDE goes straight to the heart of the matter to help your projects succeed. And that makes it a required addition to every professional's bookshelf.

Frequently Bought Together

Software Project Survival Guide (Developer Best Practices) + Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules + Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
Price for all three: $73.80

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Editorial Reviews


Read the entire review of this book.

Targeted at managers (from the top of organizations down through technical leads), McConnell's book provides a blueprint for a successfully managed project; the postulated development effort involves "3 to 25 team members and schedules of 3 to 18 months." At 288 pages, the book could be thinner, but it's easy enough to get through. McConnell has an engaging, conversational style, with a tinge of irreverent humor -- both of which make this book easy to approach. He uses little jargon and includes a comprehensive glossary, so nontechies should find it easy enough to follow.

-- Chris Jaekl, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal

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

  • Series: Developer Best Practices
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (October 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572316217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572316218
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb project roadmap and cheklists November 17, 1999
Most (but not all) information in "Software Project Survival Guide" was also presented in "Rapid Development" by the same author.
The value of this book is not in the amount of information, because "Rapid Development" provides much more information and many different best practices.
The value of this book is the clear road map it gives you for running a project according to the "staged delivery" model. The checklists in the book are invaluable.
This book is a blessing for everyone who is overwhelmed by the amount of information in "Rapid Development".
I think this book is the perfect companion to "Rapid Development". "Rapid Development" is the authoritative reference for a lot of good practices. "Software Project Survival Guide" provides the checklists and road maps to keep the project on track in every phase of the project.
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133 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Best Practice" is not the same as "Survival" May 18, 1998
I was disappointed in this book - perhaps it was a problem with expectations. McConnell's previous books - Code Complete and Rapid Development -were very well written and provided valuable insights into best practices in the computer industry. By attempting to do the same thing here, the author missed the mark. The Software Project Survival Guide presents a road map marked with good practice applied in a mature organization that understands the nature of software and responds rationally, providing the resources and time required to do the job right. The overwhelming majority of people who are taking on their first project management job will have few, if any, of the benefits that this book takes for granted.
Don't get me wrong. This is a great collection of really good ideas and it's really well written, but it doesn't give much guidance to the first-time project manager who needs to deal with misdirection and misunderstanding from those who he or she reports to. The book presents a fine set of suggestions on "Techniques for Really Good Project Management," but there isn't much on "Survival."
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Technical and Business Managers January 5, 2000
This book is especially helpful to those either: 1) new to managing projects 2) have never been formally trained in managing projects 3) are more on the business side of the fence and need insight into the software development process
I highly recommend this book if you fall into any of the above categories. I also recommend buying this book for any non-technical bosses.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both classic and contemporary July 6, 2001
Computer books written in 1997 are either obsolete or classics. This one is a classic and a timeless one at that because it gives a straightforward approach to development projects that is consistent with best practices. Best practices are usually born from lesson's learned from disasters. While there have been criticisms that this book might not be up to the realities of web development, I believe that the inverse is true: too many web development projects are initiated before they are properly planned, and are not effectively controlled because of unskilled project managers. But that's a personal opinion.
What you will find in this book that is applicable to any development project, regardless of whether the goal is a web- or e-commerce-based system, client/server or host-based. What you get is a structured approach to planning and estimating using proven methods (as opposed to pulling numbers out of thin air), excellent advice on organizing and motivating (and protecting) a project team, and how to manage delivery and release of a quality product. What I particularly like is the life-cycle framework, the controls provided to manage scope and product integrity and the emphasis on testing, release and quality. However, much of this can be mined from other books. What sets this book apart and makes it a classic is the wealth of tips and checklists and the way the author weaves his experiences into the approach. What makes this book effective is the copious advice given throughout about dealing with politics, people issues and other project and career killers. This book is about surviving projects and if the advice liberally sprinkled throughout is heeded it will go a long way towards helping you to do just that.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect addition to McConnell's trilogy January 22, 1998
By A Customer
McConnell's released books on good construction practises, and good development practices. Now he finishes the circle with a book on good management practices. McConnell has a very good way of integrating the thoughts of many prominent industry gurus into a readible comprehensive format. His talent is to recognize the best ways that improve people as software workers. The thoughts and techniques from his previous work, Rapid Development, were excellent, and it is "the Software Project Survival Guide" that puts those techniques into concrete perspective. He concentrates on only a few of his published techniques, those that are most tried and true, but also provides a framework well suited to young and upcoming technical students hoping to become managers. (Like myself 8-D) A great companion to this book is Tom Demarco's "The Deadline", as it adds the human-element of managing projects that sometimes seems missing from McConnell's book. This is not to the detriment of McConnell's work, it is just that his approach is different. McConnell's books are readible, interesting, and are the _best_ comprehensive books on improving yourself as a software worker. He's the guru of the 90's.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The one book that I wish I'd had when I started out
I bought this book way back in 2003 or thereabouts and I wish that I had read this book when I first started managing projects. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bryan Barrow
4.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Blueprint
As ever, Mr. McConnell writes clearly and accurately and presents the information in a well-organized format. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Holladay
4.0 out of 5 stars Always wanted my manager to have read this.
When I was starting off in software, this was a great book; it gives an overview of a process that works for medium to large projects at Microsoft; based on reasonable preplanning,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Advice
Excelent book not only for every project manager but also for technical personel, great if you are experienced or novice in software development.
Published 12 months ago by Ramiro J Zendejas Montes
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Guide for the Business Manager or Exec
As a non-technical business executive tasked with running a tech-heavy organization, I had to get up to speed quickly on best practices, methodologies and approaches to... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Edward J. Barton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I am using this one to plan my next project. I had issues with the last project that caused major time delays.
Published 13 months ago by G. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for.
Shipping was good and the book has all the basics and interesting tips for both IT experts and guys from other areas, like me.
Published 17 months ago by Germano Giacomolli Piva
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide to Software Development
The process outlined in this book is well thought out and forms a great basis for all software project management. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Tony Pitman
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a "Survival Guide"
Here is "another Project Management Book" or "Do This, Do That Book". It is just about "doing something in order step". It has a wrong name; it is not a survival book. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Tomodachi
2.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed by this book
I expected a lot from that book based on who wrote it. Unfortunately while reading I realized that this book is not up to the standard I expected. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Lukasz Milewski
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