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November 03 , 2008

Catastrophe Disentanglement

Getting Software Projects Back on Track


“There are many books available on software risks and software failures. There are very few books that provide step-by-step information on getting troubled software projects back on track. This book provides detailed guidelines for software project recovery. Some of the steps the author recommends may be unpleasant, but all are important.”

—Capers Jones, chief scientist emeritus at Software Productivity Research LLC


“This is a well-conceived, well-written, interesting book about an important topic. The author is right in saying that no one else has covered this particular facet of project failure.”

—Robert L. Glass, publisher of the Software Practitioner



It’s a software development nightmare: a project that’s rapidly spiraling out of control...or already a disaster. Conventional project management techniques won’t save these projects: there are no standard rescue processes to follow. You need something radically different: Catastrophe Disentanglement.


Drawing on in-depth data from hundreds of development organizations, E.M. Bennatan presents a proven, 10-step program for rescuing any project that’s worth saving. You’ll find specific guidance for addressing massive budget overruns, schedule slippage, poor quality—or all three at once. Using practical examples drawn from decades of hands-on experience as a software development leader and consultant, Bennatan shows how to

  • Evaluate where your project really stands
  • Align your project’s developers, managers, and customers
  • Defi ne the minimum acceptable project goals that are achievable
  • Replan your project to successfully deliver the new minimum goals
  • Identify risks in your revised project and create effective contingency plans
  • Install an “early warning system” to keep your rescued project from slipping back toward catastrophe

Catastrophe Disentanglement is an effective, comprehensive approach to software project rescue. Whenever projects are in trouble—whether you are a senior manager, project manager, team member, or software customer—this book could save your career.



Chapter 1An Introduction to Catastrophe Disentanglement1

Chapter 2When Is a Project a Catastrophe?15

Chapter 3Step 1–Stop43
Chapter 4Step 2–Assign an Evaluator57
Chapter 5Step 3–Evaluate the Project73
Chapter 6Step 4–Evaluate the Team95
Chapter 7Step 5–Define Minimum Goals113
Chapter 8Step 6–Can Minimum Goals Be Achieved?133
Chapter 9Step 7–Rebuild the Team147
Chapter 10Step 8–Risk Analysis169
Chapter 11Step 9–Revise the Plan189
Chapter 12Step 10–Create an Early Warning System209
Chapter 13Epilogue: Putting the Final Pieces in Place233

About the Author257



© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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