Any software project that's worth starting will be vulnerable to risk. Since greater risks bring greater rewards, 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. You'll find that risk management:
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 taught to identify the most common risks faced by software projects:
Packed with provocative insights, real-world examples, and project-saving tips, Waltzing with Bears is your guide to mitigating the risks—before they turn into problems.
Review By: Bryan Bost 07/08/2010Waltzing with Bears is an excellent book that provides the reader with details on the process for identifying and managing risks. The book discusses the why and how (as well as the why not and how much) of managing risks on software projects. DeMarco and Lister provide real life examples of how risk management should and should not be accomplished. They present the information in a manner that keeps the reader interested in the subject while also being able to comprehend what risk management encompasses.
The book starts out by explaining what risk is, and why risk management must be performed, as well as why we should accept projects that have risks. The book discusses value and benefit predictions and benefit realization. Further discussions on the value of risk management with respect to what risk management costs are also presented. The end contains a set of tests (nine in total) that readers can apply to their projects to determine if risk management is being performed well in their organization.
Perhaps the most useful part of the book describes how to go about risk management. DeMarco and Lister provide easy to use graphs, diagrams, a risk control form, and a tool called the Riskology simulator (available for download). A list of core risks that are evident on just about all software projects, along with how to address these core risks is also provided. The book also does an excellent job of describing how schedules and budgets should be determined based on risk assessments. In general, the process of risk management is discussed in a manner that should allow every software project manager to understand what is needed to perform the tasks necessary to properly manage risks on a given project.
DeMarco and Lister have produced another quality book, this one dealing with managing risks on software projects. As with their book Peopleware, the authors present the material in a down-to-earth format that allows the reader to easily understand the subject matter. I found the book to be very informative. The book gives details on how proper risk management should be performed, as well as risk management “gone bad.”
From a quality perspective the book provides direction for establishing sound project management practices in the risk management arena. A standard process for defining risks is discussed that can be used and tailored to identify risks in ones organization. This is depicted by providing an overview of process descriptions for identifying risks through such techniques as: catastrophe brainstorming, scenario-building, and root cause analysis as well as a step-by-step process for risk management. This is a book that every software project manager should read and use on every software project. Whether you’ve managed projects for years or are a newcomer to project management, Waltzing with Bears should be part of your software project library.
Waltzing with Bears is an excellent book that provides the reader with details on the process for identifying and managing risks. This is a book that every project manager should read and use on every project. Whether you’ve managed projects for years or are a newcomer to project management, Waltzing with Bears should be part of your software project library.