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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Managing Software Quality and Business Risk
Author:
Martyn Ould
ISBN:
0 471 99782 X
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
379
Price:
£34-95
Reviewer:
Ian Bolland
Subject:
management
Appeared in:
OL38
How much will it cost? When will it be ready? Customers will insist on asking these questions and they do so at the most inconvenient time, i.e. before they award you the contract. The answers to these questions and more importantly the method by which these answers are reached, can make or break a project before it even starts.

This book concentrates on project planning and specifically on risk management and quality planning. The first part of this book concentrates on risk planning. It covers subjects such as how to identify risks, how to decide which risks are important and approaches to reducing risk. Selecting an appropriate process model is an obvious way of reducing risk and this topic gets a chapter to itself. The next section covers quality planning. It emphasises the importance of selecting a development method that fits the problem to be solved and which allows the quality of the final products to be checked. The final section shows how to translate the risk and quality plans into a full project plan thatallows you to answer the cost and timescale questions.

The book has many virtues. It is clearly based on real-world experience and is illustrated throughout with real-world examples. It doesn't pretend to have any easy solutions to the problems of dealing with uncertainties. It recognises that after all the technical issues have been analysed, the final decisions must be made on commercial grounds. Finally and refreshingly for a management book, it is written in plain English.

The only problem I initially had with it is that it is not easy to categorise. It is not a general project management book, since it hardly discusses project execution at all. It is not a book on ISO or CMM, even though the quality planning process it describes would be essential to a successful ISO or CMM initiative. On reflection however, I feel that the tight focus of the book contributes to its success. If you want a book specifically on project planning, I can confidently recommend this one.