Over the course of a distinguished career, Joe Marasco earned a reputation as the go-to software project manager: the one to call when you were facing a brutally tough, make-or-break project. Marasco reflected on his experiences in a remarkable series of "Franklin's Kite" essays for The Rational Edge, Rational and IBM's online software development magazine. Now, Marasco collects and updates those essays, bringing his unique insights (and humor) to everything from modeling to scheduling, team dynamics to compensation.
Review By: Gerry Thompson 03/24/2008Author Joe Marasco leverages a strong scientific background in physics and chemical engineering as well as experience as a senior vice president for Rational Software into his presentation of managing successful software projects. His style is readable, precise, and includes many interesting footnotes that keeps the reader engaged. He begins with an overview of his own experience so the reader will have a baseline of information for what follows.
The author guides the reader through a logical progression of management topics. He begins with general guidelines that are sprinkled with mathematical examples and then delves into the specifics of modeling software development, coding, and delivering a product. He employs an effective foil in the persona of Roscoe Leroy who engages in an interesting dialog regarding software development. The author combines conversations with Roscoe, mathematical modeling techniques, and personal anecdotes to provide a comprehensive and very readable overview of how to manage software development.
The author explains how managing software development is different than other disciplines. Despite the differences between software development and other engineering disciplines, the author asserts that classical methods of project management techniques are applicable, with an eye to the unique aspects of software engineering. The author includes topics that are often taboo in software development discussions, such as the role of company politics in development timelines, the personality profile of software developers, and compensation. To this, he includes tips on negotiating within the software engineering environment and getting everyone onboard for successful project completion.
In his book, Joe describes common phrases borrowed from scientific jargon that can be misleading in the software engineering environment. His original insight into the software development process is worth exploring.
The Software Development Edge is relevant reading for software project managers, quality assurance managers, and software engineers as well. The author leverages his strong scientific background as well as software project management expertise to describe in a unique way the personal and logistical environment of software engineers and managers.
He weaves together often overlooked topics such as corporate culture, personalities, negotiation techniques, leveraging project buy-in by developers and compensation into a strategy for successful project management. He tackles project management from the perspective of company growth and company culture which are critical components that cannot be ignored for long term success in project management. The author ends his essays by summarizing an individual’s personal evolution as being characterized by three states of being, which is left to the reader to explorer.