Introduction to the Personal Software Process(sm)
||Author: Watts S. Humphrey|
List Price: $29.99
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Publisher: Addison-Wesley Pub Co (20 December, 1996)
Sales Rank: 35,555
Average Customer Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 3 out of 5
This is a great book if
This is a great book if you have never, like me, had any type of process education or formal time management training. I wish this book was available 15 years ago when I took my first CS class in college.
For the working programmer, especially in today's visual integrated environment, applying alot of the material is hard. The Lines of Code (LOC) measurement used is not considered the best judge of program complexity, plus in a visual environment where one can spend days laying out forms or reports that generate no lines of code can skew numbers. I understand its use: It is easy to explain and calculate for beginners, but is lacking for working programmers.
There is also an emphasis on distinct phases of program development, particularly the compile and test phase. For those of us who work in a visual environment (be it C, Pascal, or Basic) the phases blur together and tracking time spent on compile is negligable. Also not mentioned is should intentional syntax errors (such as going to copy a variable name) that automatic syntax checking catches be tracked?
The extreme academic bend of the book also begins to annoy after awhile. The use of "small programs" to work with on the job is rare. Tracking number of lines changed can be tough in large programs, even with source code controls in place. The base code review checklist is extremely simple (intentionally) and aimed at C or Ada programmers, leaving other languages hanging.
One last annoyance: Many of the forms talked about are not available to print or use in a spreadsheet. The one form most working programmers would use, the time log, is the most glaring example.
If you meet either of the requirements in the first paragraph, read the book. You will find something of use. Just about anyone in the field would benefit from chapters 3 and 7 (in particular) since we all tend to have problems estimating how much time things will take.
Lastly, most of the data used to show how things improved after using the Personal Software Process was from 2 groups, one "real world" company and a group of students. Both groups only had around 15 people. Even combining both groups a sample of 30 programmers is not overwelming evidence. A larger sample is needed.
Although only 3 years old, to me the book needs to be updated. Larger samples for the improvement examples, handling non-code artificts such as forms and program documentation, and making sure that all of the forms are available on standard size paper (8.5x11 or A4) would be a good starting place.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Good if you are a first or second year college student, but
I originally bought this book to improve my own software engineering habits. While this book has its merits, I am afraid that it is geared more toward the first and second year college student than the professional engineer. It specifically addresses student issues, and most of the lessons are not applicable to professional work environments. However, if you happen to be a college student in CE, then I would suggest this book as a primer. Humphrey is very detailed in his explanation and extremely epxerienced in this field.
· Peer Reviews in Software: A Practical Guide
· Introduction to the Team Software Process(sm)
· A Discipline for Software Engineering
· Winning with Software: An Executive Strategy
· Managing the Software Process