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Debugging the Development Process [Paperback]

Steve Maguire
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 1994
In Debugging the Development Process, Maguire describes the sometimes controversial but always effective practices that enabled his software teams at Microsoft to develop high-quality software - on schedule. With the refreshing candor reviewers admired in Writing Solid Code, Maguire talks about what did and what didn't work at Microsoft and tells you how to energize software teams to work effectively - and to enjoy their work; why you might want to kick your star programmer off your team; how to avoid corporate snares and overblown corporate processes; which tiny changes produce major results; how to deliver on schedule and without overwork; how to pull twice the value out of everything you do; how to get your team going on a creative roll; and how to raise the average programmer level at your company.

Product details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press,U.S. (1 Sep 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556156502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556156502
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 805,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great and terrible book. 15 Dec 1998
By A Customer
There is enough good advice in any one chapter to improve your next software project (or your life.) Unfortunately, critical principles are explained through highly specific examples. If you are already an experienced project manager or mentor then the book will read like common (if rare) sense. If you are not an experienced project manager or mentor this book will not teach you how to become one. Try Steve McConnell's Rapid Development instead.
A real danger of this book is that the examples can be taken to mean exactly the opposite of what the author intends. For example, it would be easy to read the author's objection to *needless* process work as an objection to process work of all kinds.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable "How I Won the War" story 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer
The author's style is wonderful- much more personal than most texts dealing with management, while still managing to be more than a collection of 'cute' anecdotes. This book will provide the greatest benefit to professionals, such as myself, who have had a few years experience in software development processes and are looking for that 'next level' of guidance. In that respect, Steve Maguire's writing is effective because he presents knowledge to the reader as if from a mentor to an apprentice.
I would, however, contrast it with another work which I believe to be equally important though radically different- "The Mythical Man Month". Where Maguire writes as a seasoned guru with an arm around your shoulder, Brooks writes like an evangelist and discusses software development on an almost religous plane. "The Mythical Man Month" also approaches the subject in a broader, more philosophical sense. In the end, I feel that I've gotten more out of each of these books having read the other. While contrasting in terms of eras (mainframe vs pc) and environments (short-sleeve button-down IBM vs hacky-sack Microsoft), it's interesting to note how many conclusions are shared between these works.
Bottom-line: read this book, you'll love it :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great and terrible book. 29 Nov 1998
By A Customer
There is more than enough good advice in any one chapter to make your project (or your life) dramatically better. The problem is that the book discusses important principles through highly specific examples. It is all too easy for people to misread specific examples and come to exactly the wrong conclusion. For example, Maquire is against needless process work (what developer isn't?) He's also working at the largest software organization in the world. In the smaller organizations I've worked with there is a crying need for more process work, not less. Reading Maquire it would be easy for someone to find "evidence" that they should spend less time on design work and planning! This isn't Maquire's point, but he's not there to straighten the reader out. If you are an experienced project manager and mentor you'll resonate with a lot of what Maquire says. If you aren't that experienced this book won't teach you how to be a great project manager. Get Steve McConnell's vastly superior "Rapid Development" instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Software Development 25 Jan 1998
By A Customer
This is the best book I've read on managing and coordinating a software development effort. It discussed a lot of the software development "time wasters" as well as good practices. Additionally, unlike a lot of other software books, this book is extremely enjoyable to read. I finished it in only two days. I've already recommended this book to a bunch of my coworkers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old school but great 8 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book maybe 15 years ago and it was a formative experience for me. Since then I've gone on to work in large software companies in product development/software engineering and the general sentiment and approach often laid out in this book has stayed with me.

It's probably way out of date in terms of technology these days. But if you can read past that, read into it the general ideas and approaches, there is a wealthy of experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Covers topics not found in most texts 29 April 1999
By A Customer
I am a software engineer with 20 years of experience and found this text to be informative and useful. Mr. Maguire's style is easily read and his observations are backed by numerous examples. The text is limited, however, by Mr. Maguires lack of experience in other types of software projects that don't have double digit headcounts. Overall I found the book to be a good addition to my library.
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By A Customer
I recommend this book to anyone managing (or thinking of managing) a development team. It contains practical advice, good examples, and a real world feel for how developers work (and can improve their work) and how managers can "stay out of their way" so that they can get their work done. This is one of the only Microsoft Press books that I read from cover to cover. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome. 25 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This book is distilled experience. Common sense, easy to apply advice that can make your work (and your life) blossom. In Steve's words, experience is a sum of tiny bits of knowledge each of which might not seem all that important but all together make the difference. And that's what the book is all about.
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