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AntiPatterns in Project Management





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About the book:

Written for the project manager or IT professional, AntiPatterns in Project Management describes 18 "AntiPatterns" that can go wrong in the realm of software project management, plus management techniques and tips to overcome them. Filled with real-world insight and case studies that describe actual projects gone awry, this title gives a solid measure of management expertise that can help you succeed with your next project.

Early sections of the text set the tone with management techniques that stress standards and rigorous software processes. The authors discuss the importance of managing people, technology, and processes for successful project management. While most books on patterns keep descriptions short and almost schematic, an entire chapter--filled with background material on the causes, solutions (or "refactoring") to move beyond it, and examples borrowed from the field--is devoted to each AntiPattern. (The names of companies have been changed, which makes for less dramatic reading, although this was no doubt a legal necessity.)

Anyone who has worked in software development will recognize many of the AntiPatterns here. First, bad management and bad management practices get their due--managers who don't or can't manage, projects that are late and require that staff be added at the last minute, and obstreperous employees (or "corncobs") who can't or won't work in teams.

Descriptions of technology AntiPatterns include troubles with distributed technologies, lack of architecture, demos that grow into unusable "finished" software, and software that hasn't undergone any planning at all. When it comes to process management, things can go wrong, too, as in the case of misapplied software life cycles. (In this section, the book lists no fewer than nine different software life cycles from which you can choose.) Other process AntiPatterns include customers who drive software design all the way through to disaster, the "domino effect" of changes to staff that can destroy team effectiveness, and management that demands adherence to an already late shipping date. Final sections show how these AntiPatterns often occur in conjunction. The book concludes with some "critical aspects" for successful project management.

Although a bit theoretical at times, this title has plenty of practical advice on improving your everyday project-management success. As the authors note, the great majority of software projects today are considered failures. By reading this savvy and well-organized volume, and analyzing what can go wrong, you can improve the odds in your favor in future development efforts. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to AntiPatterns for project managers
  • Standards, refactoring, and solutions for AntiPatterns
  • Case studies
  • People-management AntiPatterns (Micro-management, Corporate Craziness, The Brawl, Size Isn't Everything, Chaos, and Process Disintegration)
  • Technology management AntiPatterns (Batteries Not Included, Distributed Disaster, Gilding the Lily, Wherefore Art Thou Architecture, Killer Demo, and One-Shot Deal)
  • Process-management AntiPatterns (Planning 911, Lifecycle Malpractice [including nine software life cycles], The Customer/Too Many Hands in the Soup, One Size Fits All, The Domino Effect, and Myopic Delivery)
  • AntiPattern collisions
  • Best practices for project management
  • Strategies for improving project management

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