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January 02 , 2008

Waltzing with Bears

Managing Risk on Software Projects


This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2003).

If There’s No Risk On Your Next Project, Don’t Do It.


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To most companies, efficiency means profits and growth. But what if your “efficient” company—the one with the reduced headcount and the “stretch” goals—is actually slowing down and losing money? What if your employees are burning out doing the work of two or more people, leaving them no time for planning, prioritizing, or even lunch? What if…

Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition. By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes–in the name of positive thinking or a can-do attitude–software managers drive their organizations into the ground.


In Waltzing with Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister–the best-selling authors of Peopleware–show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.


The authors present the benefits of risk management, including that it makes aggressive risk-taking possible, protects management from getting blindsided, provides minimum-cost downside protection, reveals invisible transfers of responsibility, isolates the failure of a subproject.


Readers are armed with strategies for confronting the most common risks that software projects face: schedule flaws, requirements inflation, turnover, specification breakdown, and under-performance.


Waltzing with Bears will help you mitigate the risks–before they turn into project-killing problems. Risks are out there–and they should be there–but there is a way to manage them.


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