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Dynamics of Software Development Paperback – July 1, 1995
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Jim McCarthy is president of McCarthy Technologies, a consultancy that helps develop high-performance software development teams worldwide. Before starting his business, Jim worked at Microsoft Corporation for many years and led the team that developed Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book is written in a very funny way. It's not always easy to follow the author but that doesn't really make it much worse. Jim McCarty puts very much effort on the "group psyche" and focus on team work and communication. He tries to describe on how to make a team with a "winning mood" which then should take all responsibility and 'just' finish the product.
Parts like "Group psyche", "Don't flip the bozo bit", "The world changes and so should you" and "slip but don't fall" are extremly good and useful to read! When reading the book I really got the feeling that he knows how to ship great intellectual property. And the success of the Visual C++ compiler also shows that his methods have been very successfull.
The second edition of the book will be released in 2 days from now (6 Feb. 2004) and that's certainly a book which I will read again! Great stuff.
You could get into project management terminology, or get very geek-detailed, but this book is not about that. This book really gives you a sense of being there from someone who has actually shipped quality software on time. Learn from his wisdom, he has been around.
This author is one of the select group of software development professionals who get it. This book, along with "Peopleware", "Code Complete", and the "Mythical Man Month" are classics in software development. There are other best practice books out there, but this is a great place to start.
This book is divided into 54 short advices each taking 1 to few pages to expand the rational behind the advice. This is a format that I like and the advices that I have preferred were the ones dealing with the psychological aspect of software development. An example of such rule is that software quality is the mirror of the state of mind of the team. For some this might be obvious but considering the book intended readers which consist of engineers and software professionals, the author has been wise to be explicit on this topic in my opinion as from experience, human interactions is usually not the strongest skill among developers.
The part that seems to me to be outdated is the whole proposed economical model to market software. The author advocates that to make money from software, you must release often like every year and by doing so, your customers will be so happy that they will gladly hand you more money year after year. I think this model used to be true when the software industry was still young 20 years ago but in 2008, the software products are so mature that no matter how hard you try to squeeze more new features, it will not be enough to justify for people to purchase the new version when that last one does everything you want. You just have to think about the sales of Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 to see what I mean. Changing just for the sake of changing does not sell.
In my opinion this model should be changed to one where incremental small evolutions are proposed to customers. I would be willing to pay a small amount of money every year for an OS that is smaller, better and faster at each version. I do not get it how software companies can expect people to be interested in slower and more bloated products than the previous version. Add the possibility to purchase inexpensive add-ons to fill very specific needs to the model and you have a very attractive model. I am not sure if what I would like to see is representative to what the typical customer expects or if my proposal is viable in real life but one thing is sure. The model proposed in the book does not seem to work anymore for many mature businesses.
There is a 2006 edition of this book. I might take a look in it to find out if the advices that I have found outdated have been reworked.