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Software Development Pearls Karl Wiegers

Software Development Pearls By Karl Wiegers

Software Development Pearls by Karl Wiegers

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Software Development Pearls Summary

Software Development Pearls: Lessons from Fifty Years of Software Experience by Karl Wiegers

Accelerate Your Pursuit of Software Excellence by Learning from Others' Hard-Won Experience Karl is one of the most thoughtful software people I know. He has reflected deeply on the software development irritants he has encountered over his career, and this book contains 60 of his most valuable responses. -- From the Foreword by Steve McConnell, Construx Software and author of Code Complete Wouldn't it be great to gain a lifetime's experience without having to pay for the inevitable errors of your own experience? Karl Wiegers is well versed in the best techniques of business analysis, software engineering, and project management. You'll gain concise but important insights into how to recover from setbacks as well as how to avoid them in the first place. --Meilir Page-Jones, Senior Business Analyst, Wayland Systems Inc. Experience is a powerful teacher, but it's also slow and painful. You can't afford to make every mistake yourself! Software Development Pearls helps you improve faster and bypass much of the pain by learning from others who already climbed the learning curves. Drawing on 25+ years helping software teams succeed, Karl Wiegers has crystallized 60 concise, practical lessons for all your projects, regardless of your role, industry, technology, or methodology. Wiegers's insights and specific recommendations cover six crucial elements of success: requirements, design, project management, culture and teamwork, quality, and process improvement. For each, Wiegers offers First Steps for reflecting on your own experiences before you start; detailed Lessons with core insights, real case studies, and actionable solutions; and Next Steps for planning adoption in your project, team, or organization. This is knowledge you weren't taught in college or boot camp. It can boost your performance as a developer, business analyst, quality professional, or manager. Clarify requirements to gain a shared vision and understanding of your real problem Create robust designs that implement the right functionality and quality attributes and can evolve Anticipate and avoid ubiquitous project management pitfalls Grow a culture in which behaviors actually align with what people claim to value Plan realistically for quality and build it in from the outset Use process improvement to achieve desired business results, not as an end in itself Choose your next steps to get full value from all these lessons Register your book for convenient access to downloads, updates, and/or corrections as they become available. See inside book for details.

Software Development Pearls Reviews

This is a collection of lessons that Karl Wiegers has learned over his long and, I can say this honestly, distinguished career. It is a retrospective of all the good things (and some of the bad) he picked up along the way. However, this is not a recollection of 'It was like this in my day' aphorisms, but lessons that are relevant and will benefit anybody involved, even tangentially, in software development today. The book is surprising. It is not simply a list of pearls of wisdom--each lesson is carefully argued and explained. Each one carries an explanation of why it is important to you, and importantly, how you might bring the lesson to your reality. -- James Robertson, author of Mastering the Requirements Process They say experience is the best teacher. But experience is fraught with danger, because you'll make many expensive mistakes along its path. And experience is also a slow teacher. Experience's final lessons come just before you graduate--into retirement! Wouldn't it be great to gain a lifetime's experience early in your career, when it's most useful, without having to pay for the inevitable errors of your own experience? Much of Karl Wiegers's half-century in software and management has been as a consultant, where he's often been called upon to rectify debacles of other people's making. In Software Development Pearls, Karl lays out the most common and egregious types of maladies that he's run into. It's valuable to know where the most expensive potholes are and which potholes people keep hitting time and time again. Not just a disaster correspondent, Karl is well versed in the best techniques of business analysis, software engineering, and project management. So from Karl's experience and knowledge you'll gain concise but important insights into how to recover from setbacks as well as how to avoid them in the first place. Forty-six years ago I was lucky enough to stumble onto Fred Brooks's classic The Mythical Man-Month, which gave me tremendous insights into my new career. Karl's book is in a similar vein, but broader in scope and more relevant for today's world. My own half-century of experience confirms that he's right on the money with the lessons that he's chosen for Software Development Pearls. -- Meilir Page-Jones, Senior Business Analyst, Wayland Systems Inc. Karl Wiegers has done it again! He's created yet another wonderful book full of well-rounded advice for software developers. His wisdom will be relatable to all development professionals and students--young and old, new and experienced. Although I've been doing software development for many years, this book brought timely reminders of things my team should do better. I cannot wait to have our new-to-the-job team members read this, so they can be better equipped in their learning journey. Software Development Pearls is rooted in actual experiences from many years of real projects, with a dose of thorough research to back up the lessons. Many software development books are so dry to read, but as with all of Karl's books, he keeps it light and engaging, chock-full of relatable stories and a few funny comments. You can read it from front to back or just dive into a particular section that's relevant to the areas you're looking to improve today. An enjoyable read plus practical advice--you can't go wrong! -- Joy Beatty, Vice President at Seilevel Karl Wiegers's Software Development Pearls achieves the challenging goal of capturing and explaining many insights that you're unlikely to be exposed to in your training, that most practitioners learn through the school of hard knocks, and yet are critical to developing great software. While the book's structure compels you to connect with your experience and identify how to shift your behavior as a result, it's the content that shines: a collection of 59+1 lessons that cover the broad landscape of the software development ecosystem. These insights will help you save time, collaborate more effectively, build better systems, and change your view on common misconceptions. Software Development Pearls is an easy read and is backed by a wide range of references to other experts who have discovered these same insights in their travels. These lessons truly are pearls: timelessly valuable elements of wisdom to make you better at developing great software, regardless of your role. You might consider getting two copies of the book: one for yourself, and one to leave where others on the team can pick it up and discover their own pearls. -- Jim Brosseau, Clarrus This is an excellent book for anyone involved in software development, whether they're business analysts, software project managers or QA professionals. One of the brilliant (and unusual) aspects of the book is the way it is organized into self-contained lessons. Once you read them, they work like memes--memorable chunks of distilled knowledge that spring to mind when you need them. (This happened to me recently when I was discussing the need for a requirements competency on agile projects with a senior executive and immediately thought of Lesson #8, 'The overarching objective of requirements development is clear and effective communication.') From personal experience, I can attest to the value of lessons like #22, 'Many system problems take place at the interfaces,' but only because I was burned badly by not paying enough attention to them. Anyone in software development eventually accumulates hard-won lessons like these about what to do (and not do) in the future. This book will get you there with much less pain. As Karl Wiegers says in Lesson #7, 'The cost of recording knowledge is small compared to the cost of acquiring knowledge.' Not only is that good advice for practitioners, it also neatly captures why you should buy this book. -- Howard Podeswa, author of The Agile Guide to Business Analysis and Planning: From Strategic Plan to Continuous Value Delivery

About Karl Wiegers

Karl Wiegers is Principal Consultant with Process Impact, a software development consulting and training company in Happy Valley, Oregon. Previously, he spent eighteen years at Kodak, where he held positions as a photographic research scientist, software developer, software manager, and software process and quality improvement leader. Karl received a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. Karl is the author of twelve previous books and has written many articles on software development, management, design, consulting, chemistry, and military history. Karl has served on the editorial board for IEEE Software magazine and as a contributing editor for Software Development magazine.

Table of Contents

Foreword xix Acknowledgments xxi About the Author xxiii Chapter 1: Learning from Painful Experience 1 My Perspective 1 About the Book 2 A Note on Terminology 4 Your Opportunity 5 Chapter 2: Lessons About Requirements 7 Introduction to Requirements 7 First Steps: Requirements 11 Lesson 1: Get the requirements right or the project will fail 12 Lesson 2: Requirements development delivers shared understanding 15 Lesson 3: Stakeholder interests intersect at the requirements 17 Lesson 4: Favor a usage-centric approach to requirements 21 Lesson 5: Requirements development demands iteration 25 Lesson 6: Agile requirements aren't different from other requirements 28 Lesson 7: Recording knowledge is cheaper than acquiring it 33 Lesson 8: Requirements are about clear communication 37 Lesson 9: Requirements quality is in the eye of the beholder 41 Lesson 10: Requirements must be good enough to reduce risk 44 Lesson 11: People don't simply gather requirements 46 Lesson 12: Elicitation brings the customer's voice to the developer 51 Lesson 13: Telepathy and clairvoyance don't work 55 Lesson 14: Large groups have difficulty agreeing on requirements 57 Lesson 15: Avoid decibel prioritization 61 Lesson 16: Define scope to know whether your scope is creeping 64 Next Steps: Requirements 69 Chapter 3: Lessons About Design 71 Introduction to Design 71 First Steps: Design 75 Lesson 17: Design demands iteration 76 Lesson 18: It's cheaper to iterate at higher levels of abstraction 79 Lesson 19: Make products easy to use correctly, hard to use incorrectly 84 Lesson 20: You can't optimize all desirable quality attributes 87 Lesson 21: An ounce of design is worth a pound of recoding 92 Lesson 22: Many system problems take place at interfaces 94 Next Steps: Design 100 Chapter 4: Lessons About Project Management 103 Introduction to Project Management 103 First Steps: Project Management 108 Lesson 23: Work plans must account for friction 109 Lesson 24: Don't give anyone an estimate off the top of your head 114 Lesson 25: Icebergs are always larger than they first appear 116 Lesson 26: Data strengthens your negotiating position 121 Lesson 27: Use historical data to improve estimates 124 Lesson 28: Don't change an estimate just to make someone happy 127 Lesson 29: Stay off the critical path 129 Lesson 30: Incomplete tasks get no partial credit 132 Lesson 31: A project team needs flexibility to adapt to change 136 Lesson 32: Uncontrolled project risks will control you 140 Lesson 33: The customer is not always right 145 Lesson 34: We do too much pretending in software 149 Next Steps: Project Management 151 Chapter 5: Lessons About Culture and Teamwork 153 Introduction to Culture and Teamwork 153 First Steps: Culture and Teamwork 158 Lesson 35: Knowledge is not zero-sum 159 Lesson 36: Don't make commitments you know you can't fulfill 163 Lesson 37: Higher productivity requires training and better practices 166 Lesson 38: The flip side of every right is a responsibility 171 Lesson 39: Surprisingly little separation can inhibit communication 173 Lesson 40: Small-team approaches don't scale to large projects 177 Lesson 41: Address culture change during a change initiative 180 Lesson 42: Engineering techniques don't work with unreasonable people 185 Next Steps: Culture and Teamwork 187 Chapter 6: Lessons About Quality 189 Introduction to Quality 189 First Steps: Quality 194 Lesson 43: Pay for quality now or pay more later 195 Lesson 44: High quality naturally leads to higher productivity 200 Lesson 45: Organizations somehow find time to fix bad software 205 Lesson 46: Beware the crap gap 207 Lesson 47: Never let anyone talk you into doing a bad job 209 Lesson 48: Strive to have peers find defects 213 Lesson 49: A fool with a tool is an amplified fool 217 Lesson 50: Rushed development leads to maintenance nightmares 221 Next Steps: Quality 224 Chapter 7: Lessons About Process Improvement 225 Introduction to Process Improvement 225 First Steps: Software Process Improvement 228 Lesson 51: Watch out for Management by Businessweek 229 Lesson 52: Ask not, What's in it for me? Ask, What's in it for us? 233 Lesson 53: The best motivation for changing how people work is pain 236 Lesson 54: Steer change with gentle pressure, relentlessly applied 238 Lesson 55: Don't make all the mistakes other people already have 241 Lesson 56: Good judgment and experience can trump a process 244 Lesson 57: Shrink templates to fit your project 247 Lesson 58: Learn and improve so the next project goes better 252 Lesson 59: Don't do ineffective things repeatedly 256 Next Steps: Software Process Improvement 259 Chapter 8: What to Do Next 261 Lesson 60: You can't change everything at once 262 Action Planning 266 Your Own Lessons 267 Appendix: Summary of Lessons 269 References 273 Index 285

Additional information

Software Development Pearls: Lessons from Fifty Years of Software Experience by Karl Wiegers
Pearson Education (US)
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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