An essential classic . . .

Another Look at Yourdon's Death March

Edward Yourdon: Death March—The Complete Software Developer's Guide to
Surviviing "Mission Impossible" Projects
, 1999, Prentice-Hall, ISBN 978-0-596-80416-9, 220 pages
re-reviewed by Conrad Weisert, December 23, 2012, ©Information Disciplines, Inc.

I gave this book a rave but brief review several years ago, and every time I re-read it I notice even more solid advice. Every professional should own, read, and often re-read this work. American project managers, project team members, and project sponsors will recognize the painful organizational situations the author describes.

I admit to being irritated by the author's repeated references to the "methodology police" (enforcers of corporate standards and reviewers of internal quality) as adversaries and obstacles to enlightened project performance. Yes, we've encountered just such people in a few old-fashioned organizations, but today they're surely a fast-fading minority phenomenon.

In today's enlightened software development organization a methodology-support staff is there to help the staff. Furthermore, the organization's policies:

  1. welcome proposals from staff members to change or augment the methodology in response to new situations. new tools, or new insights,
  2. specify a quick and rational procedure for securing permission to deviate from an established standard.

We should worry more about the organization that has no written methodology and no support staff than about the organization where the support staff have become overzealous.

With that minor exception I enthusiastically recommend this as an essential book in the personal library of every I.T. professional. If you've never read it, read it now. If you read it years ago, read it again before and during your next project.


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Last modified December 23, 2012