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Glitch: The Hidden Impact of Faulty Software
Author     : Jeff Papows
Publisher   : Prentice Hall
Category   : Project Management, Process and Best Practices
Review by : Ulf Dittmer
Rating        : 3 horseshoes

This book aims to describe how to institute a software development process (and the business environment in which it exists) that leads to higher-quality software exhibiting fewer bugs. According to the author, this is done through "better IT governance". Unfortunately, very little of the book is spent on discussing what that means for the actual development process. The most part is taken up by prescriptions so high level as to be either common sense or inactionable. As an example, among the "Ten Ways to Squander IT Governance Resources" are such items as "Enforce bureaucratic processes without explaining the context", "Lock developers out of the code" and "Create reports that nobody can understand". No kidding.

Much of the rest of the book covers a variety of topics demonstrating the importance of IT and software, and how having them exhibit problems can affect millions of people, up to and including posing a danger to their lives. Well, yes, but that's not exactly fresh insight. Someone who has never worked with IT/software topics may find this interesting and illuminating, but not industry insiders.

Reading was somewhat hard work, since there's no common strand along which the content is organized. Each chapter is more or less unconnected to the others, only the very last one tries to tie it all together. Kind of annoying is the author's habit of breaking down each subject into 3 bullet point, and then each of those in turn into 3 more points - it feels like a series of presentation slides, with too little explanation for each bullet.

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.)

More info at Amazon.com
Review by : David O'Meara
Rating        : 2 horseshoes

Glitch is an interesting book, but to be honest I didn't really enjoy it. The author is certainly an expert in the field and provides plenty of useful information, but at times I found it difficult to distinguish the stories from the proven content from the opinion.

Each chapter has a topic and conclusion but the coverage feels anecdotal and often a bit light, padded by the included stories. Maybe I was a little sensitive while reading it, but the book is fairly short to begin with and while the stories, figures and tables are important to the text it means there is much less content than the 208 official pages. To me it felt more like a collection of articles or presentations than a book.

The topics are wide ranging and touch many aspects of IT in business and the value of this book is in this breadth. The coverage can be used as a check list or refresher for your own IT reviews or provide suggestions on areas to focus in your own organisation, but you could possibly distil this into a one or two page list and move on.

In the end I just wasn't convinced that the book was worthwhile. It was light, padded and occasionally disjointed. Many of the stories weren't software related and I couldn't see how they served the book. It will look nice on the bookshelf but it didn't deliver the experience I was hoping for.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
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