Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior [NOOK Book]


This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).

Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .

Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”

But it has always ...

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Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior

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This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).

Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .

Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”

But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.

In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.

The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you’ll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them.

The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what’s happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. You’ll find classic patterns such as these:

  • News Improvement
  • Management by Mood Ring
  • Piling On
  • Rattle Yer Dags
  • Natural Authority
  • Food++
  • Fridge Door
  • and more than eighty more!

Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you’ll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.

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Editorial Reviews

Book Jacket - Joel Spolsky
Another masterpiece from the folks who brought you Peopleware. Anyone who has survived a software project or two will surely recognize many of these patterns, and will be able to learn from most of them. Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies is a real joy.
Book Jacket - Michael Schrage
A remarkably compelling book that captures with vignette anecdote, and history, both the anthropology and sociology of software project dysfunction. There is the knowing and weary, but not-yet-cynical voice of experience that will make project leaders, managers, and participants flinch and wince with recognition.
Pixar - Howard Look
Brilliantly insightful. At one moment you'll think, "Darn, I do that . . . we're toast," followed quickly by the reassurance, "I'm not the only one. There's hope!"
Harvard Business School - Warren McFarland
Written with a combined sense of humor and deep insight. The book clearly conveys why projects fail and what can be done about it. It is all doable practical advice, delivered in a very friendly and acceptable way.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133492279
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 7/29/2013
  • Series: Dorset House eBooks
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 546,915
  • File size: 29 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Tom DeMarco is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild and the author or coauthor of nine books on subjects ranging from development methods to organizational function and dysfunction, as well as two novels and a book of short stories. His consulting practice focuses primarily on expert witness work, balanced against the occasional project and team consulting assignment. For the past three years, he has taught undergraduate ethics at the University of Maine. He lives with his wife, Sally O. Smyth, in Camden, Maine.

Peter Hruschka, a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild based in Aachen, Germany, is widely regarded as one of the fathers of CASE and modeling tools. He has taught and consulted on system and software development methods since the 1970s, and has worked in more than thirty countries on three continents. He is author of more than a dozen books, mostly in German, dealing with software architecture, requirements engineering, and agile methods. When he is not working, he is usually found with his wife, Monika, in some of the most scenic parts of the world, trying to hit little white balls into holes that are far too small.

Tim Lister divides his time among consulting, teaching, and writing. He is coauthor, with Tom DeMarco, of Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects (Dorset House Publishing, 2003) and Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, originally published by Dorset House in 1987 and now in its third edition (Addison-Wesley, 2013). Based in Manhattan, he is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild; a member of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Cutter IT Trends Council; and a Cutter Fellow.

Steve McMenamin is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hawaiian Electric Co., and a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild, based in Southern California. Before joining Hawaiian Electric, he held executive positions at Borland Software Corp., BEA Systems, Inc., and Southern California Edison. He is also coauthor of Essential Systems Analysis (Prentice Hall, 1984).

James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson have helped hundreds of companies improve their requirements techniques and move into the fast lane of system development. Their courses and seminars on requirements, analysis, and design are widely praised for their innovative approach. The Robertsons are London-based principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, specializing in the human dimensions of complex system building. They are also coauthors of Complete Systems Analysis (Dorset House, 1994) and Mastering the Requirements Process, Third Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2012), and are the developers of the Volere requirements techniques.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1: Adrenaline Junkies 6

2: Rattle Yer Dags 9

3: Dead Fish 12

4: Happy Clappy Meetings 14

5: Nanny 16

6: Referred Pain 19

7: Mañana 22

8: Eye Contact 25

9: Management By Mood Ring 28

10: True Believer 32

11: Lease Your Soul 34

12: System Development Lemming Cycle 36

13: No Bench 38

14: Face Time 40

15: I Gave You a Chisel. Why Aren’t You Michelangelo? 43

16: Dashboards 45

17: Endless Huddle 49

18: Young Pups and Old Dogs 52

19: Film Critics 55

20: One Throat to Choke 58

Interlude: Project-Speak 61

21: Soviet Style 63

22: Natural Authority 66

23: The Too-Quiet Office 68

24: The White Line 69

25: Silence Gives Consent 72

26: Straw Man 74

27: Counterfeit Urgency 77

28: Time Removes Cards from Your Hand 79

29: Lewis & Clark 82

30: Short Pencil 85

31: Rhythm 87

32: The Overtime Predictor 89

33: Poker Night 92

34: False Quality Gates 95

35: Testing Before Testing 99

36: Cider House Rules 101

37: Talk Then Write 104

38: Project Sluts 107

39: Atlas 109

40: Everyone Wears Clothes for a Reason 112

41: Peer Preview 114

42: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving 117

43: It’s Always the Goddamned Interfaces 120

44: The Blue Zone 122

45: News Improvement 124

46: Telling the Truth Slowly 127

47: Practicing Endgame 130

48: The Music Makers 133

49: Journalists 136

50: The Empty Chair 138

51: My Cousin Vinny 140

52: Feature Soup 143

53: Data Qualty 146

54: Ben 148

55: Miss Manners 150

56: Undivided Attention 152

57: “There’s No Crying in Baseball!” 155

58: Cool Hand Luke 157

59: Shipping On-Time, Every Time 159

60: Food++ 161

61: Orphaned Deliverables 163

62: Hidden Beauty 166

63: I Don’t Know 169

64: Children of Lake Wobegon 172

65: Co-Education 176

66: Seelenverwandtschaft 179

67: Phillips Head 182

68: Predicting Innovation 184

69: Marilyn Munster 187

Interlude: The Cutting Room Floor 190

70: Brownie in Motion 192

71: Loud and Clear 194

72: Safety Valve 197

73: Babel 200

74: Surprise! 202

75: Fridge Door 204

76: The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow 207

77: Piling On 211

78: Seasons for Change 213

79: Paper Mill 216

80: Offshore Follies 218

81: War Rooms 221

82: What Smell? 223

83: Lessons Unlearned 225

84: Sanctity of the Half-Baked Idea 228

85: Leakage 230

86: Template Zombies 233

Photo Credits 235

Pattern Index 237

About the Guild 240

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