IT Management Must-Read Books: Perfect Software

By Bruce F. Webster  |  Posted 2008-11-17 Print this article Print

Post-mortem meetings are important, but they will only get you so far. Baseline columnist and senior IT project lead Bruce F. Webster reinforces one of the most overlooked aspects of IT management: Reading books. Webster outlines 5 books that are easy to read but chock full of real, practical project information and strategies for making IT management a better, less risky and more successful, less stress-inducing process.

Perfect Software and Other Illusions about Testing by Gerald M. Weinberg. And then there’s Jerry Weinberg, who has forgotten more about IT project management and software engineering than most of us will every know – and he doesn’t forget much. I could have picked any number of his books – and almost picked The Psychology of Computer Programming (which you should read anyway) – but Weinberg just came out with Perfect Software, which tackles a subject I feel passionately about, namely the issues of quality engineering in major IT projects.

Weinberg’s style is to tell stories and then capture the essential truths into clear, simple statements. His focus always encompasses the human factors that overwhelmingly dominate IT systems development. In Perfect Software, Weinberg turns that focus onto why we test software, how we test software, and where we usually go wrong.

Each chapter ends with a list of common mistakes – one of my favorites is “Confusing documents with facts.” As with the other four books above, this is a book that you should carefully read and ask yourself, “Where are we making these mistakes?”

There’s your list. These five books together make a stack less than 3” high and comprising about 1100 pages – which is to say, a bit shorter than some of those massive programming language tutorials. But unlike those tutorials, which will likely become outdated within a few years and be thrown out not long after that, these five books will be useful and meaningful for decades to come.

But only if you read them.

Bruce F. Webster is an international IT consultant. You can reach him at bwebster@bfwa.com or via his websites at brucefwebster.com and bfwa.com.  

[© 2008 by Bruce F. Webster]

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates LLC. He works with organizations to help them evaluate troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects, or to assess IT systems and products for possible investment/acquisition. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan.

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