Software Project Survival Guide: How to Be Sure Your First Important Project Isn't Your Last. Redmond, Wa.: Microsoft Press, 288 pages, 1997. Retail price: $24.99. ISBN: 1-57231-621-7. Available from Microsoft Press 1-800-MS-PRESS (1-800-677-7377).

Buy SPSG from in paperback or Kindle formats or from O'Reilly in Ebook format.


Karl Wiegers, Author of Software Requirements and More About Software Requirements

"Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art ... is the definitive book on one of the most difficult aspects of software development. McConnell is one of the best writers in the business. In his usual highly readable and practical style, this book presents a wealth of techniques that can help both practitioners and project managers do a better -- although of course never perfect -- job of estimating the size, effort, and time needed for their next chunk of work."

Chris Jaekl, Dr. Dobb's Journal

I could share with you a long list of ways to fail when running a software project. Describing how to succeed is a much more difficult problem, and Steve McConnell's Software Project Survival Guide is the best attempt at a step-by-step guide I've run across.... While the Software Project Survival Guide hasn't unseated Fred Brooks' Mythical Man-Month as my candidate for best all-time book on software-project management, it's an honorable runner up. If you're an upper or middle manager in an organization that develops software, you should definitely read this book.

Roger Pressman

This book presents still more pragmatic guidance for managers who have to get projects out the door under heavy time pressure. It draws on the SEI's CMM and guidelines suggested by NASA, but is written in an extremely readable and effective style.

Chris Eagle

This book makes another McConnell entry on my "Best of" list:

  • Code Complete - Best Book Ever for a software developer
  • Rapid Development - Best Book Ever for an IT manager
  • Survival Guide - Best Book Ever for an IT project stakeholder (and short enough for them to read!)

Robert Burns, peer reviewer

I really like the writing style and structural approach taken in SPSG. The book flows very well in line with the phases of a software project. The book is easy to read and creates a nice symmetry from front to back. Most of the heavy thinking is in the middle with easy ramping up in the first few chapters and ramping down in the last few chapters.

Matt Peloquin, peer reviewer

The second part of the book does a great job of laying out a development strategy that will allow executives, project managers, and engineers alike to improve their ability to deliver products efficiently. The less experienced should be able to easily tailor the book as their project plan. However there are still enough new ideas and insights to make this book a compelling tool for experienced software people as well

The book also has the potential to play an important role in revealing to the less informed person what actually goes on (or should go on) in the guts of a project. It easy to read and does not delve so deeply that it will discourage someone without extensive software background.

Tom Duff,

I think it will serve an important purpose in aiding non-I/S people with understanding what goes into running a software project.... The areas on estimating project length estimation are invaluable in explaining that you just can't pick a date out of thin air at the start of a project and then expect to be held to it for the life of the project.

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