Book Review - Catastrophe Disentanglement by E. M. Bennatan
There are plenty of books that try to help you keep your project on track. But what happens when you are sitting on a catastrophe and you don't know how to salvage it? E. M. Bennatan fills a necessary niche with the book Catastrophe Disentanglement : Getting Software Projects Back on Track.
Contents: An Introduction To Catastrophe Disentanglement; When Is A Project A Catastrophe?; Step 1 - Stop; Step 2 - Assign An Evaluator; Step 3 - Evaluate The Project; Step 4 - Evaluate The Team; Step 5 - Define Minimum Goals; Step 6 - Can Minimum Goals Be Achieved?; Step 7 - Rebuild The Team; Step 8 - Risk Analysis; Step 9 - Revise The Plan; Step 10 - Create An Early Warning System; Epilogue - Putting The Final Pieces In Place; References; Glossary; About The Author; Index
If you're in IT for any length of time, you'll be part of a project that is massively over budget or late. Rather than just continue the death by 1000 cuts or a quick mercy killing, Bennatan presents a ten step process that allows an organization to take a (hopefully) objective look at the project and decide what can possibly be saved from it. I was impressed that it wasn't a long drawn-out procedure either. The plan calls for an evaluator (or a small team for huge projects) to come in and quickly assess the environment... what's been done, the climate of the team, and what could be redefined as a "minimum system". At the end of this process, the organization should be able to either kill it off with the knowledge that it can't be saved, or continue on with a redefined set of deliverables that are achievable. It won't be everything that was originally wanted, but it will be more than you'd get by letting it die. I was also impressed with the "What Can Go Wrong (And What To Do About It)" section in each step. He doesn't present this as some cut and dried panacea that will flow smoothly every time. It may not be an easy task, but the book will give you the help you need to make it all work.
Definitely a book that is worthy to be on every IT project manager's bookshelf, as you *will* need it some day...