O’Reilly recently launched a nice line-up of project management books targeted at different skill levels, and now the Pragmatic Programmers, a publisher marketed by O’Reilly in some countries, chimes in. Ship it comes from their corner and actually even is a part of the Pragmatic Programmers bookshelf; that means as much as lots of practice and no theory. Indeed, it is the most practical book from O’Reillys project management series that I read so far.
Ship it based on a set of “best practices” or processes that the authors want you to consider for your own shop. Basically, the practices are described one after another. Each of the discussion contains a reasoning of the process and a list of critical points to watch.
Ship It contains an extra chapter on a new development process called tracer bullet development. TBD basically revolves around getting the product to work somehow (with mock objects,..) and then keeping it working all the way to the very end. While you may not be able to implement it in every shop, the ideas presented will make you think about your own process!
The practices presented are mostly targeted at bigger shops, a one-man show will not benefit as much from it as a bigger shop. Also, some of the methods(like automatized builds, automatized tests) are very difficult to realize in the PalmOS world.
The authors delivered a well-written book, the text can be understood easily, and all jargon is explained in considerable detail. Each chapter contains a few images that help you understand the processes better. Reading it is fun, as it is written in a entertaining style, it actually has a good bit of popular science style.
Overall, Ship It makes a good read-but not for the beginner, but rather for an intermediate project manager who already has had a bit of experience beforehand. For all others, it may be helpful to gather a bit of understanding of the basic theory-but O’Reilly has books that teach you the basics.