Death March (Anglais) Broché – 15 juin 1999
Descriptions du produit
Quatrième de couverture
The complete software developer's guide to surviving projects that are “doomed to fail.”
In the course of a career, practically every software developer and manager will encounter projects with outrageous staffing, scheduling, budgeting, or feature constraints: projects that seem destined to fail. In the wake of re-engineering, such “Death March” projects have become a way of life in many organizations.
- Surviving projects that are “doomed to fail” !
- Negotiating the best deal up-front.
- Managing people and setting priorities.
- Choosing tools and technologies.
- When it's time to walk away.
Now, best-selling author Edward Yourdon brings his unique technology and management insights to the worst IS projects, showing how to maximize your chances of success—and, if nothing else, how to make sure your career survives them.
Yourdon walks step-by-step through the entire project life cycle, showing both managers and developers how to deal with the politics of “Death March” projects—and how to make the most of the available resources, including people, tools, processes, and technology.
Learn how to negotiate for the flexibility you need, how to set priorities that make sense—and when to simply walk away. Discover how to recognize the tell-tale signs of a “Death March” project—or an organization that breeds them.
If you've ever been asked to do the impossible, Death March is the book you've been waiting for.
Biographie de l'auteur
Edward Yourdon is an independent management consultant, author, and developer of the Yourdon Method of structured system analysis. He is publisher of American Programmer Magazine, and best-selling author of Time Bomb 2000 (Prentice Hall PTR).
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Yourdon examines the reasons behind why companies run projects in this fashion, as well as some of the surrounding issues that can complicate an already impossible situation. For instance, you may have a tight deadline, but the "Policy Police" expect all the required paperwork to be filled out for each deliverable. Or even more common, you have decisions that need to be made by the customer, but the customer delays making those choices by days or weeks, thereby pushing the schedule off track even further. By understanding these situations, you can devise ways to work around them or to manage expectations so that you don't get saddled with all the blame for missed deadlines in the end.
Both managers and developers will find useful material in this book. It is slanted a bit more towards the management side, but it's useful for both parties to know and understand the external pressures that are affecting the outcome of their project.
If you are working on a death march project (or work for a company where they are all too common), this book can give you some practical ways to deal with the issues that cause them. The projects will not go away, but you will at least have a chance to survive them without losing your sanity.
I loved the Napoleon quote: "It follows that any commander in chief that undertakes to carry out a plan which he considers defective is at fault; he must put forth his reason, insist on the plan being changed, and finally tender his resignation rather than be the instrument of his army's downfall." Great advice unless there are no alternatives and the Barbarians are storming the gates.
Yourdon does review the options for a team lead faced with no-win situations, and the book is useful for helping you think clearly and cast a wide net for solutions when you feel despondent and desperate. The oft-reiterated advice to quit is something I have done in the most egregious situations, and there is nothing like the feeling of relief when you walk out of a pressure-cooker for the last time. But realistically, you have to pay your bills.
What I can advise is to read this book to understand the sickness, and then do the best you can to change the industry. The problems are endemic, but plenty of other professions have reached a point where they can realiably estimate projects and complete them successfully (e.g. construction and building trades, manufacturing, even military planning).
Of course, you may want to move up in management, but then you might become part of the problem. This book could help you gain some vision for leading a successful IT organization. Arm yourself with knowledge and start a crusade as an enlightened IT leader!
Yourdon classifies death march projects into four types: 1) ugly style projects where there are expected casualties and project failure. 2) Suicide projects where the project has no chance of success but is established and staffed by persons with company loyalty and the belief that the company's continued survival is dependant on the team's last chance effort to save it. 3) Kamikaze style projects that are going to result in the destruction of the project team and staff but can result in the greater good of the company, if successful. 4.) The Mission Impossible project style is the most attractive type of death march because even though the odds are steeply weighed against success, a superb project manager with top notch developers on the team can pull off the impossible and become heroes in the company. The Mission Impossible project type is the most desirable death march project because the project team is eager to take on the challenge and possibly learn and use new exciting technologies in the process. Despite the fact that the chance of success is slim, it's possible to win with the right people
Not only is Yourdon's Death March informative on all possible project participant perspectives on what to do when confronted with a death march project, it is written by one the leading industry pundits and is a great enjoyable read.
Within it, you can also see software project management tips littered throughout the book. They are often found in project management books, but somehow they never got registered in our brains. For example, it talks about "triage". Putting it into simpler teams, it means classifying the features to build into must-do, should-do and could-do. This concept of "scope" have been widely been discussed, but people failed to put them into practice.
This is an informative book to understand about "Death Marches". Understanding is the first step into winning the war of "Death March Projects".
This is definitely a book that is worth you spending your bucks on.
But since 2001, it has become increasing difficult to take this stance. I am hoping the author will address these issues as applicable to the current environment where you can be out of a job for a year or two if you don't toe the line drawn by the powers that be.
Anyway, keeping this dangerous assumption in mind, this book provides a good insight into why these 'death march' projects happen and what you can do about it. These difficult projects are defined as "a forced march imposed upon relatively innocent victims, the outcome of which is a high casualty rate". The conditions usually involve one of more of the following - highly compressed schedule, reduced staff, minimal budget, and excessive features.
This short book starts off with an introduction to why these bad projects happen in the first place. The topics of politics, negotiations, people in death march projects, processes, tools and technology, and death march as a way of life. These are the various chapters in the book. As you can tell by the title of the last chapter, the author believes that death march projects are really the norm and not the exception so we all need to learn how to handle them.
If you don't have much time, the author recommends reading the concept of 'triage' discussed in Chapter 5: Processes and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this chapter before going back to the preface and the rest of the book. There are some very interesting personal notes by the author at the end of each chapter that are really worth reading. Even though the author claims that he is being serious, the book is very humorous throughout. Of course, it is easy to laugh if you are reading this book at a time when you are NOT on a death march project.
In chapter 2, five typical political players of a death march project are identified - owner, customer, shareholder, stakeholder, and champion. There is then a discussion of each type. If pressed for time, read pages 52-59. In chapter 3, a few of the familiar games are discussed - doubling and add some, reverse doubling, guess the number I'm thinking of, double dummy spit, spanish inquisition, low bid, gotcha, chinese water torture, smoke and mirrors, and finally hidden variables of maintainability/quality. If pressed for time, read pages 80-85.
In chapter 4 about people, on the topic of team building issues, 8 project roles are talked about - chairman, shaper, plant, monitor-evaluator, company worker, team worker, resource investigator, and completer. The 7 practices that lead to 'teamicide' are also addressed - defensive management, bureaucracy, physical separation of team members, fragmentation of people's time, quality reduction of the product, phony deadlines, and clique control. The four stages of team gelling are pointed out - forming, storming, norming, and performing. These four stages are discussed in various other books also.
My favorite chapter is on Processes (chapter 5) where the concept of 'triage' is discussed as applied to software development projects. Don't miss this chapter. Chapter 6 is a very short chapter on tools and techniques that most of us may already be familiar and if not, read this chapter as it is a good discussion on how right tools can affect your success positively. I felt the last chapter was more of a philosophical discussion of death march projects being a way of life and what to do about it.
Overall, this book is a must-have even if you are a veteran to the software development field. Don't forget to check out 'Rapid Development' by Steve McConnell that is a much heavier treatise on software development and the various success techniques.
The author of 'Death March' - Edward Yourdon has a website with his last name as the URL with the latest information on this subject. As I mentioned in the subject line and at the beginning of this review, there is a risk in following this book in this weak economy that could prove especially dangerous for IT professionals ultimately resulting in a spot in the unemployment line. Since it is so close to the publication of the second edition, the author has removed the manuscript chapters on this new release. So I am not really sure if he has a new philosophy for this type of an economy in the upcoming second edition. I would recommend waiting for this second edition. Good luck!