Chapter 2. The Ten Guidelines

After many years of failures, the software development industry is gradually coming to understand what makes projects succeed. Best practices have started to appear, sometimes mixed with misinformation and plain technical folklore, but through trial and error, teams around the world have started to separate the chaff from the grain.

SIG is one organization that has gone through this. And not only that, it has studied the way software development projects evolve so as to identify the difference between success and failure. After analyzing business cases for years, SIG has come up with Ten Guidelines that, if followed correctly, can make the difference between success or failure.

The Ten Guidelines are easy to understand but not necessarily easy to apply. Teams may face resistance on several fronts: sometimes from management, who may not understand the value of an investment like this, and sometimes from developers, who may take badly the fact that they are being told how to work best.

However, even if everybody is on board, the Ten Guidelines require that a level of technical expertise be applied. A lot of refactoring is needed to keep applying the guidelines overtime, and refactoring is an art that is very difficult to master. There are a number of resources that can be used to increased a developer’s refactoring skills, among them the fantastic How to Work Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers (Prentice Hall).

In this chapter, we will ...

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