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The Complete Software Project Manager by Anna P. Murray

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Chapter 1Software Development Explained: Creativity Meets Complexity

There are shelves of books and hundreds of thousands of articles dedicated to making software development better. Why has it been so hard for smart professionals to just make software projects run smoothly, on time and on budget? What's up here?

A Definition of Software Development

Software development is any activity that involves the creation or customization of software. As noted in the introduction, it can include

  • Launching websites
  • Installing a CRM (customer relationship management) tool
  • Implementing a new accounting package
  • Building a custom application for your business

All these activities qualify as software development. Most businesses will, at some point, be confronted by a software development project. Technology is now so intrinsically integrated into business that it's impossible to avoid.

Why Is Software Development So Difficult? Hint: It's Not Like Building a House

A lot of people use the metaphor of house building as a comparison for the activity of software development. I believe this metaphor does an enormous disservice to the process. I reject this metaphor because it gives people a false sense of security and a false understanding of the nature of software development.

A house is concrete and well understood by all. We have all been inside houses. We all share comparable assumptions about what a house is. The same cannot be said for software. In many cases, I have sat in a room with ...

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