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The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management Kindle Edition

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Length: 310 pages

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1226 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing (December 15, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006MN4RAS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tom DeMarco is the author of thirteen books, including novels, business books and a collection of short stories. He began his career as a software engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, working on what was then the world's largest computer. His focus began early to turn toward writing, with stops along the way in organizational design, litigation consulting, foreign affairs, and even a stint teaching undergraduate Ethics at the University of Maine. He lives with his wife, Sally Smyth, in the village of Camden on the coast of Maine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Like economics, the discipline of software development suffers from a weakness that prevents the resolution of competing theories, in that it is generally impossible to perform controlled experiments. It would take an extremely brave manager to ever try out two competing development theories by having two teams build the same product simultaneously. However, it is possible to borrow a technique from theoretical physics and perform thought experiments. Such an experiment would involve having more than one team develop the same product simultaneously, but using different techniques. That type of experiment is the premise of this novel.
The main character is a recent victim of downsizing who is kidnapped and taken to a formerly communist country where the educational level is high and the costs are low. Once there, he succumbs to his fantasies and agrees to perform the experiment of his dreams. With six products to build and a large staff of developers, he splits them into eighteen groups where each product is being built by three teams simultaneously. Each group of the three then uses a different development method. Throw in impossible deadlines and you have a microcosm of software development.
It would appear that such a premise would guarantee a boring book, but nothing could be further from the truth. The book is entertaining and enduring, as developers will recognize most of their development problems, albeit couched in somewhat unique circumstances. Many of the leading figures in the theory of software development management make cameo appearances, including a certain very rich man. The end result is a true stroke of genius that has somewhat of a surprise ending, but actually quite natural, given the current climate in the computer business.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Rotenstein on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you normally fall asleep while reading books about Project Management, give this one a try. Set in the form of a novel, the reader follows the experiences of a Project Manager charged with bringing home a series of project with typically impossible deadlines.
This is not a text book. If you're new to Project Management, I recommend that you start elsewhere. However, if you've been involved in projects or find yourself in the lucky position of being a Project Manager, this book provides some valuable ideas about how to improve your project -- or at least cope with inevitabilities.
If you enjoy this book, also look at "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox, and also "Zapp: The Lightening of Improvement" by William Byham.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Demarco's book is an easy, entertaining read. It can be consumed in an evening with very little effort. In the guise of the protagonist's diary entries, Demarco instructs the reader on the finer points of software project management. Humor and a cutting wit are two more of Demarco's strong points. There is more practical information in this little book than in any 10 textbooks on the subject. It is now a part of my library (if I can ever get it back - people keep borrowing it!).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brant Serxner on October 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Our department just went through a downsizing and restacking (corporate speak for physical cubicle shuffling) and I found The Deadline among the old pens and Splenda packets in an empty cube. I remember that it made quite a stir when it came out, so I took it back to my cloth lined slice of heaven, now removed from any actual chance of any physical view of heaven, and read it.
I enjoyed skimming through this book and tend to agree with most of the points the author makes. However, as a veteran Project Manager, I think the book will be misleading to a novice and most of it better be old hat to one with any real experience. The target audience should be managers of Project Managers and their managers, and customers of Project Management efforts. But they won't like it, as it either ignores them, or disparages them. This is a real weakness. The core knowledge imparted, for professionals in PM, is better addressed in books like The Mythical Man Month and The Psychology of Computer Programming, among others.
The author embeds his instruction in a modern Fairy Tale that is breezy and entertaining, and superficial. The plot structure is really just a tongue in cheek device, bordering on facetious, to set up some straw men the author uses to get his points across, which is OK. The underlying message is a dismissal and distrust of the received wisdom of methodologies and systems of Project Management and the management of organizations, in favor of a loosely described team based approach supported by rigorous design. Not a bad perspective to work from, and fresher when the book came out, but never as all encompassing a panacea as the author makes it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ms8@acsu.buffalo.edu on March 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
I can not thank you enough for writing this book. The content of the book was not only completetly relevant but so insightful into a topic (sw project management) that is grossly ignored by many people who are in charge of large projects and groups of developers. My experience (7 yrs as a developer) has been that experienced programmers end up "managing" projects. The problem is that they have spent their time developing software and do not seem to know anything about managing a project. The Deadline addressed the important issues of software project management head on by presenting problems to be solved and ways of solving them not just with ideas by specific methods. Not only did I appreciate the material but the format of the book may it enjoyable to read. For a software developer who is starting to realize how much more there is to software development than wich language you know this book is a necessity.
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