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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:
Death March Projects
Author:
Edward Yourdon
ISBN:
0-13-748310-4
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Pages:
200pp
Price:
£16
Reviewer:
X
Subject:
management
Appeared in:
11-2
Hell. Edward Yourdon describes different kinds of project hells in this book.

It catalogues death march projects as "Kamikaze", "Mission Impossible", "Suicide" and "Ugly" - those descriptions are used as a short hand throughout the book.

At the end of each chapter is a set of references and lengthy e-mail quotes from people who have been on Death Marches.

There are 7 chapters - Introduction (to Death Marches), Politics, Negotiations, People in Death March Projects, Processes, Tools and Technology and Death March as a way of Life.

The "politics" and "negotiations" chapters were interesting - there are plenty of lessons to be learnt there - concentrating on software engineering has left me inexperienced in these topics. I always wondered why key people laughed at recommendations fromPeopleWare. Maybe if I understand these chapters better, I'll be able to get morePeopleWarethings done to get projects running more smoothly.

Ed Yourdon's main message (to me) seemed to be !TRIAGE! - that wasn't particularly useful as I'm already an expert at triage. It was nice to see that others use the same term, as well.

The thing I liked about it most was Ed describing the differing views and positions of the different players in the project (Owner, Customer, Shareholder, Stakeholder, Champion). This book can be a very good tool to maintain a sense of perspective and help appreciate the concerns of non- developers involved with the project.

Is it useful? I found it so. Its easily read and fairly concise (roughly 200 pages). I'd give it "3 out of 5", with the possibility of that score rising if it proves to be useful in the long term.

There's more to this book. It was hard enough getting time to read the book. There is even less time available to write polished reviews about it.