New and Notable Books


The Laws of Simplicity
by: John Maeda

We have become used to product improvements being synonymous with something additional, more complexity, more to remember. John Maeda’s 10 laws of simplicity challenge this trend and provide usable guidelines for achieving simplicity.

The first law, Reduce, is all about how to achieve simplicity by thoughtful reduction by looking for the appropriate balance between how simple can you make it and how complex does it have to be. The Shrink, Hide, Embody (SHE) guidelines guide the search for simplicity. Is this larger than it needs to be? Can I hide some of the complexity? What can I do to communicate the qualities embedded in this product?

I am charmed with the 7th law, Emotion, that states that more emotions are better than less. He encourages the exploration of human feelings about design and points out that this varies from person to person. Aichaku is the Japanese term for a sense of attachment to an object. Written as two kanji characters AI (love) and CHAKU (fit) the image of “Love-fit” is a way of considering our emotional attachment to objects regardless of what they do.

Given how complex it is to achieve simplicity, the laws have a certain amount of overlap and contradiction and are best used as design heuristics rather than hard and fast rules. This slim book (100 pages) has followed its own recommendations and provides a simple and usable guide to simplicity.

Suzanne Robertson

This book at amazon.com  amazon.co.uk  Kindle edition

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Requirements Engineering - Second Edition
by: Elizabeth Hull, Ken Jackson, Jeremy Dick

Here is a clear and practical explanation of what Systems Engineering is and how it is integral to requirements. The authors do a good job of explaining how requirements are the thread that holds everything together and keeps the software, organisational and mechanical parts of a system in synch with each other.

Chapter 2 illustrates a generic system development process for engineering requirements from a statement of needs and stakeholder requirements through to subsystem and components requirements. The same model is tailored to an ideal world view and one that integrates changes. Also a series of annotated v-models is effective in illustrating requirements and testing, requirements layers, enterprise requirements engineering and traceability and change management.

I also like that the authors are not wedded to any particular notation and have encouraged the use of a melange of common representations along with a few home grown ideas. The message is to represent (somehow) your understanding of a system so that it can be shared with others, improved and the details made traceable.

There are some examples related to business systems but the focus is mostly on technical engineering systems. However the principles are applicable to any kind of system in the largest sense of the word.

  — Suzanne Robertson

This book at amazon.com    amazon.co.uk    Kindle edition

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Pattern Oriented Software Architecture
by: Frank Buschmann, Kevlin Henney, Douglas C. Schmidt

The first architectural patterns were published in the mid 90 by Frank Buschmann and his colleagues at Siemens. Since then a lot of other authors have contributed to the collection of architectural patterns, among them Martin Fowler, Gregor Hohpe as well as some more publications by the Siemens team.

With this volume 4 Frank Buschmann together with Kevlin Henney and Doug Schmidt have delivered a masterpiece: 104 patterns concisely characterized, well categorized and easy to understand. The collection starts with the most important patterns entitled „From Mud to Structure“. This section is followed by 12 categories of patterns, covering among others, distribution, event handling, concurrency, synchronization, object interac tion and modal behavior.

While some of the patterns are difficult to understand in their original publications here you can get to the essence in just 3 – 6 pages. And i fit sound interesting you are pointed to more information. So this book is like a distribution list to the collected wisdom for software architects covering more than a decade of research and practical experience. A must read for software designers and architects.

-- Peter Hruschka 

This book at amazon.com

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97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know
by:  Richard Monson-Haefel (editor)

A group of experts has joined forces to publish this little 200 page book with „collective wisdom“ – as the subtitle suggests. The short essays are just 2 pages each. Many of the observations should be obvious to practicing architects. Alas – if you look around in industry – nearly all of these pearls of wisdom are neglected every day. Let me give you some titles to wet your appetite for reading more: „Chances are, Your biggest Problem isn’t technical“,  „Seek the Value in Requested Capabilities“, „Challenge Assumptions – Especially Your Own“,  „For the End User the Interface is the System“ „The Business Versus the Angry Architect“ and one of my favorites: „If there is only one solution, get a second opinion“.

This is a book that practicing architects should read once a month until they never think about ignoring this collective wisdom.

-- Peter Hruschka

Link to amazon.com

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Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientis
by: Fred Brooks

I was recently assembling a set of (Seville) rolling steel shelves for a storage area.  The concept of the shelf connector was so ingenious that I found myself full of respect for whoever had designed it. I wanted to meet and shake hands with this admirable person.  I suspect that crafting software for a living has given me — and maybe you too — some extremely strong feelings about design.  We find ourselves exclaiming that “the iPad is elegant,” or “my DVR has a human interface which is positively opaque!”  People from other fields probably have these feelings as well, but I sense that ours are much more deeply experienced.

The economic case for good design in software is all about testability, reliability and ease of adaptation to change. But your sense that the design of a given routine is either a thing of beauty or “the dog’s breakfast” probably has nothing to do with any of these factors.  It’s much more likely to be all about style and elegance of concept. Oddly, style and elegance are two things that are distinctly absent from almost all texts on the subject of software design.  Most of the classic texts are mostly about design notation and documentation.

Fred Brooks’ new book, The Design of Design, is the exception.  Here the treatment is exclusively on what it is about a given design that makes us take our breath in in admiration or let it out in sad disgust.  The book doesn’t teach us how to make great designs, but it does teach us how to think about the subject.  Like everything else we’ve received from the extraordinary Fred Brooks, this book is a treasure.

       — Tom DeMarco               Buy at InformIT.com

Released Date: 07-Sep-2010   Expiry Date:10-Sep-2010
The Innovator's Toolkit: 10 Practical Strategies to Help You Develop and Implement Innovation
by: Richard Luecke

This book lists a writer (Richard Luecke) but no author. Presumably, it has been assembled by members of the Harvard Business School Press. This shows as the book comes across as slightly stuffy and academic. That is the bad news out of the way.

The rest of the book is made up of practical advice. That is, advice for someone who wants to pick up some, and I stress “some”, innovation techniques. The book has a grab bag of techniques for helping you find new ideas. 

That’s the first third of the book. The rest of it concentrates on the hard stuff, and this is where the book comes into its own. The hard stuff is getting the innovation accepted by the organisation and the marketplace. The tone is academic, and this is not aimed at cavalier entrepreneurs, but at anybody who wants to place a structure around his or her attempts at moving from the innovation stage to the production stage. This then is the strength of this book. 

— James Robertson
Released Date: 29-Jul-2010   Expiry Date:29-Jul-2012
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The Adventures of an IT Leader
by: Rob Austin, Richard Nolan and Shannon O'Donnel
This is a charming book written by charming people. Please do not be put off by my recommendation of the authors. I mention it because you will be charmed by this book, and you will learn from it—the authors are charming and knowledgeable. The Adventures of an IT Leader sets out to examine the role of the CIO using the form of the novel. Jim Barton is a newly appointed CIO with no IT experience, and he, along with you, learns how to be an effective leader in an organisation where IT plays a crucial role.

The novel form of learning is not, er, novel, and this time out Austin and company have used it to great effect. You are carried along with their hero as he deals with open warfare in his department as he struggles to juggle conflicting demands with resources and risk.

The book is not all entertainment. Each chapter has a section at the end for reflections and lessons learned. I was tempted to read only these, but the Jim Barton’s days in the office were far too alluring. 

— James Robertson

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Books by Guild Authors


Peopleware - Productive Projects and Teams. Third Edition
by:  Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister

The unique insight of this longtime best seller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. For this third edition, the authors have added six new chapters and updated the text throughout, bringing it in line with today’s development environments and challenges.

“Peopleware is the one book that everyone who runs a software team needs to read and reread once a year." Joel Spolsky, Co-founder, Stack Overflow

Amazon    Buy at InformIT.com     Barnes & Noble

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Complete Systems Analysis - the Workbook, the Textbook, the Answers
by:  Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson
Now available in e-book format. The book contains process and data models for a complete case study as well as a comprehensive reference work for the modelling notations and how to use the models to take a variety of viewpoints. It is available as a Kindle book, Buy at InformIT.com , or you can download a sample chapter.

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Mastering the Requirements Process - Getting Requirements Right. Third Edition
by:  Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson
"This book covers everything you wanted to know about requirements and a fair bit of stuff you didn't know—yet—that you needed." —Stephen Mellor. E-book at Kindle and Buy as hardcover or e-book at InformIT.com
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Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior
by:  Tom DeMarco, Peter Hruschka, Tim Lister, Steve McMenamin, James Robertson, Suzanne Robertson
"Another masterpiece. Anyone who has survived a software project or two will surely recognize many of these patterns and will be able to learn from most of them. Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies is a real joy." --Joel Spolsky, author of Joel on Software.
Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies Page
This book at Amazon.com
Kindle Edition
Dorset House
Buy at InformIT.com
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Software-Architektur kompakt
by:  Gernot Starke, Peter Hruschka
This book at Amazon.de
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Agility kompakt
by:  Peter Hruschka, Chris Rupp, Gernot Starke
This book at Amazon.de
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Handbuch IT-Projektmanagement - Vorgehensmodelle, Managementinstrumente, Good Practices
by:  Ernst Tiemeyer (Editor) including 2 chapters by Peter Hruschka
I was allowed to contribute 2 chapters to this brand new summary about the state of the art in project management. One of my chapters is about the state of the art in requirements engineering, concentrating on things that project managers should know. And the concluding chapter of the book is about practices of successful projects.

-- Peter Hruschka

This book at Amazon.de
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Mastering the Requirements Process - second edition
by:  Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson

"If the purpose is to create one of the best books on requirements yet written, the authors have succeeded." — Capers Jones

This book at Amazon   
Kindle Edition   
Download a sample chapter from Addison-Wesley
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Requirements-Led Project Management - Discovering David's Slingshot
by:  Suzanne and James Robertson

"This elegant and informative book is the follow-up to the Robertsons' Mastering the Requirements Process. It isn't very often that a reviewer finds he can't put a technical book down, but it happened this time. This book is the product of seriously good consultancy over "more than a quarter century"; and that is supported by beautifully clear writing, not to mention James Robertson's fresh and witty illustrations." — Ian Alexander

Download a sample chapter pdf.
This book at Amazon

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Lieutenant America and Miss Apple Pie (short story collection)
by:  Tom DeMarco

Karen Fisk, writing in The Maine Times contrasts DeMarco with author Evelyn Waugh:  "DeMarco's pen is light, honest but indulgent. Whereas Waugh seemed to loathe his characters, DeMarco loves his." And so will you!

Download a sample story.

This book at Amazon.

Released Date: 02-Sep-2003   Expiry Date:02-Sep-2020
Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects
by:  Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister

If There's No Risk on Your Next Project, Don't Do It. Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition.

In Waltzing with Bears Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister—the best-selling authors of Peopleware—show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.  Download a sample.         Buy at InformIT.com

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Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency.
by:  Tom DeMarco
"Tom DeMarco goes after one of the most pervasive and pernicious myths of business -- that humans are efficient the same way machines are. This book will change the way you manage and understand your business." — David Weinberger, author of The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Find out here why business is not the same as busyness.
Released Date: 22-Oct-2008   Expiry Date:
Agile Softwareentwicklung für Embedded Real-Time Systems mit der UML
by:  Peter Hruschka and Chris Rupp
Since this book is no longer in print you can download the German text here for free.



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Dark Harbor House
by:  Tom DeMarco

" . . . a charming and amusing tale about the triumph of lighthearted goodness over the forces of darkness. Never has a young man's loss of innocence seemed so sweet and touching. Expecting from the title yet another grisly thriller, I was enchanted to discover a sunlit ruin of a summer mansion, full of quirky characters pursuing hilarious private obsessions. I missed this book whenever I had to put it down, and rushed to get back to it."

— Lisa Alther, author of Kinflicks and Other Women

Download chapter 1
This book at Amazon

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Process for System Development : A Practical Guide to Requirements /Architecture Modeling
by:  Derek Hatley, Peter Hruschka, Imtiaz Pirbhai

The overall purpose of this book is to present a broad approach to the effective development of systems, especially those involving multiple disciplines-as most systems do. We use a variety of practical, real-world case studies to illustrate the nature of systems and the system development process, and we include system models that can be used in the process.

This book at amazon
This book at Dorset House Publishing

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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition)
by:  Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister

"Ever wonder why everybody at Microsoft gets their own office, with walls and a door that shuts? It's in there. Why do managers give so much leeway to their teams to get things done? That's in there too. Why are there so many jelled SWAT teams at Microsoft that are remarkably productive? Mainly because Bill Gates has built a company full of managers who read Peopleware. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is the one thing every software manager needs to read... not just once, but once a year."

This book at Dorset House
This book at Amazon

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Mastering the Requirements Process
by:  Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson
This is the first edition of the Robertson's work on requirements. It is still available at Amazon, but we suggest you get the second edition.
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Complete Systems Analysis: The Workbook, the Textbook, the Answers
by:  James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson

"A masterful job. . . . a thoroughly detailed case study."   — Ed Yourdon

"Clearly the best book available for teaching modern systems analysis to practitioners."  — Rich Cohen

This book at Dorset House
This book at Amazon

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The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management
by:  Tom DeMarco
"Here's a management book which is just plain fun to read. The Deadline is an innovative and entertaining story with insightful business principles for team-based project management at the end of each chapter."     — John Sculley

Download a sample chapter

This book at Amazon

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Why Does Software Cost So Much? And Other Puzzles of the Information Age
by:  Tom DeMarco
Why does software cost so much? DeMarco bristles at the question. Compared to what?! "[its] not a question at all; it's an assertion."

This book at Amazon
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Wien wartet auf Dich - Der Faktor Mensch im DV-Management
by:  Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister, translated by Peter Hruschka

"Das Buch liefert nicht nur zahlreiche Fakten, sondern ist auf Grund der vielen eingestreuten Geschichten aus der Praxis von Entwicklungsprojekten auch ein gut lesbarer Schmöker. Ein echter Lesetipp!"   — IT-Business Magazin

This book at Amazon.de

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Software State of the Art : Selected Papers
by:  Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister

Peopleware authors Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister combed through ten years' worth of software magazines and journals and selected 31 of the best articles on software issues.

This book at Amazon

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Essential Systems Analysis
by:  Steve McMenamin and John Palmer
"This book changed the way I thought of system analysis when I first read it in 1984. Those ideas are still relevant today." - Rich Cohen. Sadly out of print but still available through Amazon.
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Controlling Software Projects:Management, Measurement and Estimation
by:  Tom DeMarco

"You can't control what you can't measure". DeMarco's seminal work on estimation.

Find this book at Amazon

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Structured Analysis and System Specification
by:  Tom DeMarco
This book, more than any other, changed the way we look at systems. This is DeMarco's original work on modeling systems. Quite ancient but still readable and still available.
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