How do you hire—and keep—the best software engineers in the business? What real-world practices can really motivate a team to produce excellent results? From startups to major corporations, virtually every commercial software company struggles with building teams and shipping great software on time. Now industry expert Ed Sullivan shares the hard-won lessons and best practices from his 17-year career in software development, including six years at award-winning NuMega Technologies.
In Under Pressure and on Time, Sullivan describes a proven model for creating, directing, and growing a world-class development team. Discussion includes recruiting, interviewing, company culture, scheduling, release engineering, tools, key processes, beta management, project status, project closure, and other critical topics for which—until now—frustratingly little information has been published.
But Under Pressure and on Time digs one level deeper than other project management books, delivering the fire-tested practices and essential how-tos that help you lead software teams to greatness.
Review By: Kerry Zallar 07/08/2010This book provides practical direction for managing software projects. The author describes what’s fundamentally important for success in delivering quality software while under the real-world constraints of budgets and schedules. His knowledge comes from much practical experience as a development center director for a successful company that engineers and markets software development tools. The emphasis of the book is on what is practical and what has proven to work, and not work, through experience. It also keeps in line with what is commonly considered good industry best practices. Frequently throughout the book, the author provides sidebars titled “Back at Work” where he describes his real-world experiences with the topic being discussed.
Topics include building strong teams, where he stresses the importance of recruiting and holding key talent, describes team culture, and makes recommendations on how to organize projects. Heavy emphasis is given to requirements, research and prototyping, and user interface design. Related to engineering there are sections on software tools, configuration management and release engineering, and quality assurance. The author provides details on project planning, project scheduling, and keeping projects on course. There are dedicated sections on managing beta versions and release candidate software and delivering products to production. It is apparent that the author wants to openly share the principles and techniques that he’s found to be successful with the reader. While it is assumed that the reader has some experience in software engineering, the author writes in a straightforward style that makes it easy to read and comprehend.
In today’s fast-paced, market-driven economy there’s much interest in subject matter that is based on practices that have worked well “in the real world.” This book does an excellent job of making recommendations and describing practices that have worked well for a small company that has successfully delivered software development products. The book covers a broad scope of subjects related to project management and all that is required to deliver a quality product. This makes it an excellent read for any software development project manager as it provides good specific direction from A to Z. Important and critical key points are presented on each subject area within the book. However, it’s impossible for any one book to provide all the details on how to implement them. For example, while the author describes important aspects related to test automation and advises that test automation is critical in a fast-paced environment, one would need to do much more research to learn how to implement it. The sidebars titled “Back at Work” allow the reader to relate to the author and his experiences. The author makes it easy for the reader to understand the subject matter and compare the author’s recommendations to his or her own project experiences. While the book itself is geared toward small- to medium-sized projects, extremely large projects are usually made up of smaller project teams that are responsible for their own deliverables, so the recommendations made in this book still apply. This book is not only a good book to read once, but it would also act as an excellent reference aid to practitioners as they work through their projects.