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Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition. By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes–in the name of positive thinking...
Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition. By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes–in the name of positive thinking or a can-do attitude–software managers drive their organizations into the ground.
In Waltzing with Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister–the best-selling authors of Peopleware–show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.
The authors present the benefits of risk management, including that it makes aggressive risk-taking possible, protects management from getting blindsided, provides minimum-cost downside protection, reveals invisible transfers of responsibility, isolates the failure of a subproject.
Readers are armed with strategies for confronting the most common risks that software projects face: schedule flaws, requirements inflation, turnover, specification breakdown, and under-performance.
Waltzing with Bears will help you mitigate the risks–before they turn into project-killing problems. Risks are out there–and they should be there–but there is a way to manage them.
PART I: WHY 7
Chapter 1: Running Toward Risk 9
Chapter 2: Risk Management Is Project Management for Adults 15
Chapter 3: Denver International Airport Reconsidered 22
Chapter 4: The Case for Risk Management 29
PART II: WHY NOT 35
Chapter 5: The Case Against Risk Management 37
Chapter 6: The Onus of Uncertainty 42
Chapter 7: Luck 46
PART III: HOW 51
Chapter 8: Quantifying Uncertainty 53
Chapter 9: Mechanics of Risk Management 60
Chapter 10: Risk Management Prescription 73
Chapter 11:. Back to Basics 80
Chapter 12: Tools and Procedures 91
Chapter 13: Core Risks of Software Projects 101
Chapter 14: A Defined Processfor Risk Discovery 113
Chapter 15: Risk Management Dynamics 121
Chapter 16: Incrementalism for Risk Mitigation 128
Chapter 17: The Ultimate Risk Mitigation Strategy 138
PART IV: HOW MUCH 143
Chapter 18: Value Quantification 147
Chapter 19: Value Is Uncertain, Too 151
Chapter 20: Sensitivity Analysis 156
Chapter 21: Value Offsets Risk 160
Chapter 22: Refining the Risk Management Prescription 164
PART V: WHETHER OR NOT 169
Chapter 23: Test for Risk Management 171
Appendix A: The Ethics of Belief, Part 1 175
Appendix B: Risk Template 181
Posted April 14, 2003
Reading Tom Demarco and Tim Lister is a pleasure. It is so clear that these two authors set out to teach something they believe to be valuable, and all of their effort is directed toward making that valuable thesis accesible to the reader. There is no showing off, no saying, 'Look how smart I am.' Their books clearly say, 'Our many years of experience have taught us some useful stuff and provided us with lots of valuable data. We have put a lot of effort into analyzing that data and we will try as hard as we can to help you understand our analysis. Our objective is make it as clear and as entertaining as we can,' and they do. Their explanations are always clear. Their examples are invariably both helpful and entertaining. What they have to say is always important. 'Walzing with Bears' is no exception, and even if you should disagree with parts of the book, their arguments will force you to think about critical aspects of management that you may not have previously considered. Reading the first few chapters, my only criticism was that they seemed to be oversimplifying some issues. Reading on, I realized that it was a deliberate and brilliant part of their teaching technique. In later chapters, the book carefully added the complexities that covered more and more of my early reservations in ways that made them easily understandable. It's a terrific book.
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