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The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management

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Overview

From prolific and influential consultant and author Tom DeMarco comes a project management novel that vividly illustrates the principles — and development team.

With his trademark wit set free in the novel format, DeMarco centers the plot around the development of six software products. Mr. Tompkins, a manager downsized from a giant telecommunications company, divides the huge staff of developers at his disposal into eighteen teams — three for each of the products. The teams are...

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Overview

From prolific and influential consultant and author Tom DeMarco comes a project management novel that vividly illustrates the principles — and development team.

With his trademark wit set free in the novel format, DeMarco centers the plot around the development of six software products. Mr. Tompkins, a manager downsized from a giant telecommunications company, divides the huge staff of developers at his disposal into eighteen teams — three for each of the products. The teams are of different sizes and use different methods, and they compete against each other . . . and against an impossible deadline.

With these teams, and with the help of numerous consultants who come to his aid, Mr. Tompkins tests the project management principles he has gathered over a lifetime. Key chapters end with journal entries that form the core of the eye-opening approaches to management illustrated in this entertaining novel.

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Editorial Reviews

American Programmer
The Deadline is almost as funny as a book full of Dilbert cartoons, but it's far less cynical. More important, it contains some profound wisdom, and some practical, positive advice for improving the chances of meeting your next project deadline. I highly recommend it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780932633392
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1.   Opportunity Knocking
2.   Standing Up to Kalbfuss
3.   Silikon Valejit
4.   The CD-ROM Plant
5.   NNL
6.   The World's Greatest Project Manager
7.   Taking On Staff
8.   The Eminent Dr. Rizzoli
9.   Ex-General Markov
10. Abdul Jamid
11. The Sinister Minister Belok
12. The Numbers Man
13. QuickerStill
14. Morovia's First Programmer
15. Think Fast!
16. Planning for the Summer Games
17. The Guru of Conflict Resolution
18. Maestro Diyeniar
19. Part and Whole
20. Standing on Ceremony
21. Endgame Begins
22. The Year's Hottest IPO
23. Passing Through Riga on the Way Home
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    How to do software development without killing your staff.

    This book uses the premise of a fiction story to teach 101 lessons of software development. The hero is a project manager who is given the opportunity to develop 6 new products and uses this opportunity to test what works and what does not in developing software. An enjoyable cast of supporting characters helps the hero to discover the lessons that every software development manager should know. An engaging and quick read that is well worth the time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Optimistically cynical

    If you've ever worked on a project with more than three people or had to maintain someone else's system, you'll be able to relate to this book. It's a condensed course on project management, people management, politics, and process improvement. He shows the good and bad of how things can go wrong very quickly, and some of the things you can do to get back on track. <p> Instead of burying you in technical jargon, Tom gives you the basic issues that anyone working on a doomed project, and project managers in particular, face in an entertaining and humorous format. Parts of the story could have been written about every project I've worked on, but Tom provides ways to solve the problems as well. He presented several suggestions and ideas that I'm trying to get included in our development process. <p> I think this book and Peopleware should be required reading for anyone majoring in IT. If you have friends in the IT field, you should buy this for them, and start a revolt for better ways of doing projects and leading more satisfying lives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2001

    Entertaining but not convincing nor realistic

    I read this novel right after reading 'The Goal' by Eli Goldblatt. I was expecting the same sort of gripping tale that taught me principles, convinced me of their truth and entertained me at the same time. While, ¿The Deadline¿ was entertaining, it seemed too far removed from the work of the projects it described. Consequently, the storyline seems to take place inside of a vacuum. Furthermore, the events that precipitate crises seem artificial. The author¿s didactic technique made the lessons learned obvious by having the main character write them down in his journal as a bulleted list. Yet as I reached the end of the chapter I did not feel convinced that the lessons presented were true. Whereas, when I read ¿The Goal¿ I found myself actively answering the questions posed and felt the truth of the answers reverberating within me. On the upside, ¿The Deadline¿ has much less profanity than ¿The Goal¿. Perhaps I did not relate to this book as well because instead of being in charge of 1500 people I typically manage teams of three to four people counting myself. Nevertheless, I am not a plant manager yet I relate well to the lessons of ¿The Goal¿ In any case there are several valuable insights presented in the book; those most useful to me were found in the first few chapters. One insight that I gained, that the author did not explicitly mention, is, don¿t accept drinks from strangers, or you just might be shanghaied off to Morovia -- the `Wonderland¿ of project management.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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