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Great Software Debates

Great Software Debates

Alan M. Davis

ISBN: 978-1-119-13465-7

Oct 2015, Wiley-IEEE Computer Society Pr

225 pages


The industry’s most outspoken and insightful critic explains how the software industry REALLY works.

In Great Software Debates, Al Davis, shares what he has learned about the difference between the theory and the realities of business and encourages you to question and think about software engineering in ways that will help you succeed where others fail.

In short, provocative essays, Davis fearlessly reveals the truth about process improvement, productivity, software quality, metrics, agile development, requirements documentation, modeling, software marketing and sales, empiricism, start-up financing, software research, requirements triage, software estimation, and entrepreneurship. He will get you thinking about:

  • The danger of following trends and becoming a ‘software lemming’
  • Is software development art or engineering?
  • How to survive management mistakes
  • The bizarre world of software estimation
  • How to succeed as software entrepreneur
  • How to resolve incompatible schedules and requirements

If you are in the software industry and do not know which way to turn, Great Software Debates provides valuable and insightful advice. Whether you are a software developer, software manager, software executive, entrepreneur, requirements writer, architect, designer, or tester, you will find no shortage of sound, palatable advice.


About the Author.

Section I: The Software Industry.

Essay 1. Software Lemmings.

Essay 2. Recovering from Method Abuse.

Essay 3. Tomorrow’s Blacksmiths.

Essay 4. On Software Development Strategies, Politics, and Religion.

Essay 5. Art or Engineering, One More Time.

Essay 6. Why Build Software?

Essay 7. It Feels Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.

Essay 8. Eras of Software Engineering Technology Transfer.

Essay 9. Fifteen Principles of Software Engineering.

Essay 10. Thoughts on Software Estimation.

Section II: Management.

Essay 11. Trial By Firing: Saga of a Rookie Manager.

Essay 12. Can You Survive Your Management Mistakes?

Essay 13. Should He Stay or Should He Go? Advice for a Beleaguered Manager.

Essay 14. The Software Company Machine.

Essay 15. The Rise and Fall of a Software Startup.

Essay 16. Anatomy of a Software Startup.

Essay 17. Information for Decision Makers.

Essay 18. Some Tips for the Would-Be Entrepreneur.

Essay 19. Some More Tips for the Would-Be Entrepreneur.

Section III: Requirements.

Essay 20. The Harmony in Rechoirments.

Essay 21. System Phenotypes.

Essay 22. The Missing Piece of Software Development.

Essay 23. Object-Oriented Analysis to Object-Oriented Design: An Easy Transition?

Essay 24. Achieving Quality in Software Requirements.

Essay 25. Requirements Management Made Easy.

Essay 26. Elicitation: How Do the Experts Do It?

Essay 27. Requirements Are But a Snapshot in Time.

Section IV: Software Research and Academe.

Essay 28. Between Scylla and Charybdis.

Essay 29. Why Industry Often Says ‘No Thanks’ to Research.

Essay 30. Requirements Researchers: Do We Practice What We Preach?

Essay 31. From Wonderland to the Real Problem.

Essay 32. Practitioner, Heal Thyself.

Section V: Life and Software.

Essay 33. Words of Wisdom.

Essay 34. More Words of Wisdom.

Essay 35. Product Not Process: A Parable.

Essay 36. Making a Mark on the World.

Essay 37. Rewards of Taking the Path Less Traveled.

Essay 38. Miscellaneous Thoughts on Evolution.

Section VI: The Future.


""'Great Software Debates' is a gift of Alan Davis' experience, insight, wisdom, and humor. The essays' value is greatly increased by being collected in one place."" (IEEE Software, November/December 2006)

""...hardly a week has gone by that I have not referenced it or recommended it to co-workers and friends...a concentrated treasure of suggestions, explanations, and principles."" (Ubiquity, October 19, 2005)

""…expect[s] that the reader will think about and react to the content in some substantive way."" (Software Quality Professional, March 2005)

""This book deserves a place on any software engineer's bookshelf…it will make you keep your brain in gear, an essential quality for software engineers…"" (Computing, March 11, 2005)

""The author shares what he has learned about the difference between business theory and reality, encouraging readers to think about software engineering in ways that will help them succeed where others fail."" (Computer Magazine, November 2004)