Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies

Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior by Tom Demarco, Peter Hruschka, Tim Lister, Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson, and Steve McMenamin is easy to pick up and put down.  It's a collection of 86 patterns of project behavior, well summarized on the back cover as "Behaviors that make you projects wonderful or awful or frustrating or satisfying or successful or doomed."

Anyone who has spent time on a prolonged software project will find themselves nodding and shaking their heads as they relate to the patterns presented.

A few of my favorite patterns:

Empty Chair - "Many projects fall short of real success for want of a single individual whose responsibility it is to ensure that the resulting business process - from the users' point of view - works as well as possible."

Feature Soup - "The features of the product grow with each addition, but after a while, everyone - marketing, customers and development - loses sight of how all these pieces fit together and how they help achieve the business goals."

Hidden Value - "There is an aesthetic element to all design [seen and unseen]. The question is, Is this aesthetic element your friend or your enemy?  If you're a might be worried that any aesthetic component of the designer's work could be a waste, little more than the gold-plating that we're all taught must be avoided.  This aesthetics-neutral posture in a manager acts to deprive designers of appreciation for work that is excellent, and to refuse acknowledgment of any valuation beyond 'adequate'."

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