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A great classic, but no longer the best
am 14. Januar 2000
This book is a classic description of a high-tech team trying to do the impossible. The motivational methods used by the boss are great lessons. I used to use it to teach my MBAs about the soft side of product development. However, time moves on, and so did my syllabus. Not only is it technically obsolete (4.77 Mhz minicomputer; no ASICS; etc.). But even the team dynamics are now, with the benefit of hindsight, ultimately destructive. Instead, I use a much more recent book, on software development at Microsoft, called "I Sing the Body Electronic". This book describes a year of wandering in the swamp of producing a prototype of an over-ambitious software package. I think it's more relevant today, although admittedly the product they are working on (a children's encyclopedia) is more dependent on aesthetics and creative design than are most contemporary products. Anyway, my students love it, and it really opens their eyes. If you can, read both books. If you have time for only one, it depends on whether you associate with old-timers like me, who will know Soul, or newcomers like my students, who will be interested in Microsoft and software.