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3 minute read - Book Reviews

A Hacker's Guide to Project Management Book Review

Aug 2, 2000

This is a splendid little book. Concise and well written, well presented and well worth reading.

Book Cover for The Hackers Guide to Project Management

Table of Contents Overview:

  • Part 1 - Success and Failure
  • Part 2 - The Art of Project Management
  • Part 3 - The development Life-Cycle
  • Part 4 - Structuring the Development
  • Part 5 - Planning and Estimating
  • Part 6 - The strategy Stage
  • Part 7 - The analysis Stage
  • Part 8 - Procurement - Buying it in
  • Part 9 - The Design Stage
  • Part 10 - Build, Document and Test
  • Part 11 - The transition into Use
  • Part 12 - Production and Maintenance
  • Part 13 - Success!
  • Annotated Bibliography

Author: Andrew K. Johnstone

The book is structured as above, with each section being divided into 6 - 10 questions with headings like “How do I do good testing?” “what are the risks during strategy and analysis?”. Each of these questions is answered with a one or two page essay that clearly explores the question with pointers to further areas of study.

The questions are clearly those which someone unfamiliar with project management would ask, making this book a perfect introduction to project management. They are also questions which an experienced project manager should be asking themselves throughout the life of the project, making this a perfect ‘dip in and out’ reference text.

It was gratifying to see such a good set of testing oriented sections. I found very little to disagree with in the book at all. It focuses on quality and communication throughout the development process and emphasises prevention above cure.

The book has a large scope (the development process) but it concisely tackles each area and actively encourages thought. It demands that you think about the development process if you are going to manage it. Indeed your first task after reading it should be to ask yourself what questions it didn’t ask that might help be helpful in your current project, then you should try and answer them yourself.

This book obviously isn’t a testing book so test managers might want to supplement the reading of this text with Rex Black’s ‘Managing The Testing Process’.

It would be mistake for tester’s to label this as purely a management book or a non-testing book and ignore it. Testing, possibly more than any other development life cycle process, has many management activities expected from the front line testing staff:

  • Test execution plans
  • Progress reports
  • test strategies
  • risk analysis
  • prioritisation

It is difficult to define many normal day-to-day testing activities without thinking about them using a management framework. The same organisational abilities are obviously expected from developers but sometimes the formalism isn’t as large and expectation.

Testing often uses management metaphors. This is a worthy book.

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