CEO at Econsultancy
16 October 2000 18:53pm
Following on from my recommendation of the Mythical Man Month, here are a few more books that I have read on the subject of Web project management, each with a brief overview.
Rather than give a long list of books, I have debated long and hard and managed to reduce my recommended reading list to 6 books. These are the books that I have learned most from and which I think every web project manager should read.
1. The Mythical Man Month: Essays on Software Engineering, by Frederick Brooks, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., July 1995, ISBN: 0201835959
Generally regarded as a classic text on programming project management, this book is a must read for anyone working with programmers on web sites. Although originally released as long ago as 1965, the book is still very powerful today and has more recently been updated with four new chapters outline Brooks’ most recent experiences.
2. Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules,
by Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press, July 1996, ISBN: 1556159005
Renowned for its section on ‘Classic Mistakes Enumerated’ which should make any software project manager wince with recognition, this is a very thorough and insightful read at 647 pages. Read it yourself and then try and make your clients read it.
3. Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
by Jakob Nielsen, New Riders Publishing, December 1999, ISBN: 156205810X
More wise words from web usability guru Jakob Nielsen. Opinionated but at least, in my view, right. Lots of real world examples to back up his arguments. 2 things that are of particular interest: 1) when is the sequel to this book coming out giving the ‘hows’ to accompany these ‘whats’? 2) I’ll be interested to see how Jakob reacts to broadband internet when it happens. You should try and ensure your designers read this book.
4. Secrets of successful web sites: Project Management on the World Wide Web, by David Siegel, Hayden Books, 1997, ISBN: 1568303823
Despite cheesy titles – of which this is nothing compared to other Siegel books (“Killer sites”, “Futurize your Enterprise” etc.) – and despite a fairly design lead approach, there can be no denying that this makes good reading. It is easy to understand and follow and, as you might expect from someone obsessed with typography, looks good on the page too.
5. Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams, by Jessica Burdman, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., August 1999, ISBN: 0201433311
Very good on communication, team and client issues. The planning and process is in there as well to make this a very effective all round guide to web development which is of great use to project managers.
6. Philip and Alex’s Guide to Web Publishing, by Philip Greenspun, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., 1999, ISBN: 1558605347
Whereas Siegel feels like a designer at heart, Greenspun is definitely in the programming camp. He teaches at MIT and runs his own web development firm so he certainly knows what he is talking about even if he loses me in some of the code sections. What is most refreshing about this book is the strong written style, the common sense borne of experience, the deep understanding of database driven sites, and the wonderful photos… And Alex the dog, of course. Find out for yourself.
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