REVIEW - Software Development for Small Teams - A RUP-centric Approach


Software Development for Small Teams - A RUP-centric Approach


Gary Pollice, Liz Augustine, Chris Lowe




Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)




Giles Moran


August 2004



This book follows the progress of a voluntary software project from start to end. The team performed all of the work in their spare time and were geographically dispersed adding to the need for a process. The team was already familiar with the RUP or Rational Unified Process and had access to some of the Rational tools at their everyday places of work.

The book focuses on all aspects of the projects from the initial construction of the team all the way through to the final post-mortem. The book follows the RUP phases with each phase lasting a number of chapters.

The initial chapters introduce the team and give an overview of the project and the process. The project gets started by chapter 4 where the team discusses various aspects of the project such as milestones and communication methods. The standard RUP phases then follow: inception, elaboration, construction and transition, each as a chapter. These chapters are a good 'by example' introduction to RUP. Implementation details follow the chapters on elaboration and construction. The book ends with a useful project post-mortem (which should be compulsory in all projects IMHO), and a useful appendix.

The RUP is usually criticized for being too large and heavyweight for use by small teams and this book goes some way to addressing this point. The problem is that the team members already know about RUP, and I still think that any team starting out is still going to find RUP daunting.

I liked this book; it is highly readable and entertaining. I learned a lot about RUP and found myself in agreement with the authors about a lot of the points raised. The constant RUP references did annoy, as it wouldn't have taken much to generalise the book for a larger audience. For instance, when discussing version control, ClearCase is used even though the authors agree that it's far too heavyweight for the project. A small discussion on other source control systems such as CVS would have been useful. I know that the subtitle of the book is "A RUP-Centric Approach", but it wouldn't have taken much to make this a more general "Iterative-Centric Approach".

The problem with recommending this book is its scope. Small teams embarking on RUP would gain something by reading it, so for this particular subset of the readership I'd recommend it.

I wanted to read this book as I work in a small team and have wanted to get some ideas on how to improve the development process. I've gained some useful ideas from this book and will encourage other members of my team to read it.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.