CHAPTER 3 Project Management

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.

—STEPHEN COVEY

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:            

  • What project management is and why you should care
  • How to use PERT charts, critical path methods, and Gantt charts to create project schedules and estimate project duration
  • How you can improve time estimates
  • How risk management lets you respond quickly and effectively to problems

Part of the reason you implemented all the change tracking described in the preceding chapter is so that you have historical information when you’re writing your memoirs. It’s so you know what happened, when, and why.

In addition to this peek into the past, you also need to keep track of what’s going on in real time. Someone needs to track what’s happening, what should be happening, and why the two don’t match. That’s where project management comes in.

Many software developers view management with suspicion, if not downright fear or loathing. They feel that managers were created to set unrealistic goals, punish employees when those goals aren’t met, and take credit if something accidentally goes right. There are certainly managers like that, and Scott Adams has made a career out of making fun of them in his Dilbert comic strip, but some management is actually helpful for producing good software.

Management is necessary to ensure that goals are set, tracked, and eventually met. It’s necessary to keep team ...

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