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Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz is the director of technology research for Amdocs. Arnon has more than 20 years of experience developing, managing and architecting large distributed systems using varied platforms and technologies. Arnon is the author of SOA Patterns from Manning publications. Arnon is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 68 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

8 must read papers for project managers

04.03.2009
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I decided to do another article collection post. As I mentioned in the last post that I am extremely busy these days  as we're preparing to launch the first public pilot of our service. On top of that I cannot disregard the ROI (views vs. hours invested) in previous collection post I made on "10 papers architect should read". It isn't that I don't have other articles and papers with 40K+ reads but compiling a list takes much less time than, say, writing an article on what is SOA, explaining the fallacies of distributed computing, a mini-book on Use cases - not to mention the effort that goes into writing  SOA patterns/anti patterns book (Saga, Edge Component, The Knot etc.).
But enough about me...

  • The mythical man-month (1975) Fred Brooks - it is the second chapter of a book with the same name. A classic paper where, I think, for the first time, the ideas that some tasks need to be done sequentially and can not be solved by adding more man-power or in Fred’s words “The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned”. It is also famous for stating that adding more people to a late project will only delay it further.
  • Why the Vasa Sank: 10 problems and some antidotes for software projects (2003) by Richard E. Fairley and Mary J. Wilshire -it isn't free but worth it (though you can read the gist of it for free in "Why the Vasa Sank: 10 Lessons learned" by Richard E. Fairley) – The tale of the Vasa ship is a very nice analogy for developing software project. I first heard it from Ivar Jacobson several years ago. This article presents it very well.
  • The Cathedral and the Bazaar (1997) Eric S. Raymond - the classic essay on open source vs. closed source models for developing software
  • Software Maintenance is a Solution, Not a Problem - Robert L. Glass – it really is when you think about it.
  • IT doesn't Matter (2003) - Nicolas Carr – A thought provoking article on the place and importance  of IT – Carr basically states that software is getting to a point where it will become a utility like electricity and in that will loose it strategic place. In a sense we’re seeing more of this direction today with all the hype and move to cloud computing.
  • Chapter 3 of the "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Form on Defense Software" (2000) – various – An extensive analysis of software intensive projects. Besides revealing interesting facts on the ever growing importance of software (eg. 80% of the functions of F-22 are performed in software vs. 8% in the 1960’s F-4) it also acknowledge the advantages of iterative lifecycle over waterfall even in large, safety critical,complex  projects. 
  • Observations on Balancing Discipline and Agility (2003) Barry Boehm and Richard Turner – provide a few rules of thumb for assessing a project’s suitability for agile methods (e.g. team’s level, criticality etc.)
  • Succeeding with "Agile Fixed Price" part I & part II Pascal Van Cauwenberghe  - a two part paper with practical advice to employing/injecting agile methods into fixed price contracts.
References
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