"DeMarco and Lister are very well known for their classic, Peopleware,
which should be mandatory reading for software managers, project managers,
product marketing managersin fact, anyone involved in the decision-making
process for funding software projects. It's just as pithy and to the point
as Peopleware, and well worth the investment of a few hours of time. When
you're done reading it, you'll probably be tempted to buy a few more copies to
give to coworkers.
"Everyone who has ever worked on a software project
that went over schedule will recognize his or her organization somewhere in this
book. If you're a project manager, you probably won't want to use all the techniques
in this book immediately. However, maybe you will make your team start doing some
risk mitigation up front and calculating return on investment while planning the
next project. This alone will dramatically reduce your odds of ending up with
a death march project. Your managers will thank you for that. And so will your
The Rational Edge
". . . the process of risk management is discussed in a manner that should
allow every software project manager to understand what is needed to perform the
tasks necessary to properly manage risks on a given project.
With Bears is an excellent book that provides the reader with details on the
process for identifying and managing risks. This is a book that every project
manager should read and use on every project. Whether you've managed projects
for years or are a newcomer to project management, Waltzing With Bears
should be part of your software project library."
"In their latest
effort, Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects, DeMarco
and Lister look at the role of risk in software development, concluding that it
is at least as important a factor in project success as are software development
processes. It is a good read: food for thought that may sate the application development
manager in the long night of a Death March project.
writings on risk are timely, as firms arise from the dark cave of risk aversion.
. . . In days when risk avoidance and cost cutting seem the only recipes offered
for technologists, their words come as something of a tonic."
With Bears (its name taken from a Dr. Seuss song) is worth a read by workers
at any stage of the software chain."
"I liked this book. It caused me to re-examine
the way I budget software as well as other deeper assumptions about what I 'choose
to believe' or rather why I choose to believe it. If you get a chance to
read the book you will probably come to the same conclusion, 'Wow, I never thought
about things that way and I really think I should!'"
ACM Software Engineering Notes
Tom DeMarco speaks, the IS community listens. . . .
"The book is a
brilliant tour de force. In summary, it shows IS managers how to quantify
risk (even when there are few pieces of data) and use these quantifications to
set reasonable schedules. It describes the pathologies that occur in companies
and how to deal with at least some of them. Most importantly, it teaches managers
what to do. It is a book that should be on your bookshelf and pulled out whenever
you appoint a new project leader or schedule a new project."
Information Systems Management
"There is a
great deal of useful advice in this little book. The authors also provide practical
techniques for implementing their ideas. If you have anything to do with software,
you really need the information in this book."
"Advice projects must not
ignore (but often do) . . . A must for the project manager (and his or her boss).
and Lister's examples and anecdotes are both entertaining and persuasive."
"A hard-hitting guide
to braving greater risks for greater rewards in the exciting, challenging, competitive,
and rapidly advancing field of software development. . . . a very savvy guide."
"A must for software development managers.
14 puts forward a process for discovering risk, which is excellent and in the
realm of 'how to learn what it is that you don't know.' It is this approach that
will separate those who succeed from those who must resort to faking success.
software project without risk is so dull and uninteresting that no one with any
talent would go near it. So, if you have talent, gear up by buying this book and
plunge forward to take on the enomrmous challenge of making software that matters
to the world."
"DeMarco and Lister do a good, lively, commonsense
job of presenting their subject. If committing to do risk management means committing
to read something about it, then this book would be an excellent starting place."
The Software Practitioner
Demarco and Tim Lister is a pleasure. It is so clear that these two authors set
out to teach something they believe to be valuable, and all of their effort is
directed toward making that valuable thesis accessible to the reader. . . . Their
explanations are always clear. Their examples are invariably both helpful and
"What they have to say is always important. Waltzing
With Bears is no exception . . . their arguments will force you to think about
critical aspects of management that you may not have previously considered. .
"It's a terrific book."
posted on Amazon.com
authors, consultants in risk and management, show how to identify and embrace
worthwhile risks in software development and offer strategies for common risks
that software projects face, such as schedule flaws, requirements inflation, and
Book News, Inc.
"For anyone who's work life consists of leading and
managing projects - technical or non-technical, it doesn't matterWaltzing
With Bears is best read slowly and thoughtfully at home over a weekend, then
brought to work and kept within easy reachyou'll want it right there
come Monday morning! Laser-accurate insight, philosophically and experientially
grounded, hard truths encapsulated in good humorthis book has it all! (Why
would we expect less from these guys!) What I adore about DeMarco and Lister's
latest effort is that it is rock-solid methodology delivered, as always, in some
of the deftest, most readable prose around. Great management best practice and
a good read to boot. Holy Smokes!"
posted on Amazon.com
"Super book on
the critical subject of risk management.
"What an excellent
book, but then what would one expect from Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister, and Dorset
House? As well as being an excellent introduction to an extremely vital subject
in this day and age, Waltzing With Bears provides some practical tips not
only on how to do Risk Management, but also regarding how to overcome some of
the factors in corporate culture that actively or passively suppress the application
of Risk Management (e.g., the 'can-do'
attitude). . . .
spent several years in QA and Process Engineering supporting Risk Management,
I can only say that I wish I'd had this book several years ago. But I have it
now, and am better prepared for future efforts."
posted on Amazon.com
is a rare pleasure to find a book that exactly articulates something you have
always known but never recognized. This is such a book. . . .
ideas are (and have always been) essential for any project to succeed."
posted on Amazon.com
"The seminal work
on managing software project risk. . . . Explosive insights, practical advice.
Finally we have a guide to risk management that we can implement and use."
Professor, Harvard Business School
"destined to become the Bible for serious IT professionals and project
"Buy a copy of this book for everyone on your project team,
and for every manager and stakeholder who has any influence on your project. .
. . I've ordered 20 copies for my best clients.
"Pearls of wisdom like
'It's okay to be wrong, but not okay to be uncertain' are, by themselves, worth
the price of this bookfor they remind us of how childishly unrealistic our
risk management culture really is."
Consultant and Author
"The authors provide a fresh approach to risk management."
Software Quality Professional
good introduction to statistical risk analysis written accessibly and humorously."
"Bold, provocative yet coolly pragmatic. . . ."
Co-Director MIT Media Lab's e-Markets Initiative
"This interesting little book addresses
the important and little-covered (at least, in practical books for industry) topic
of managing risk. It is more or less an axiom among requirements people that the
main reason for writing requirements is to reduce risk; of course the same justification
is given by systems people for the whole systems engineering enterprise. Can everyone
"The book wins the prize for most engaging business
book cover and title. Any manager who doesn't think that managing risk on software
projects is essential should read this book at once."
"Significant software development is all about taking and
managing risks, and in the book, Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk On Software
Projects, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister and published by Dorset House,
the risks are catalogued and quantified. This is about making calculated gambles
and keeping yourself and the project under control as it moves from the original
idea to completion, and their mantra is, "If there is no risk in your next
project, then don't do it." They also describe their free risk assessment
tool, RISKOLOGY, which will help you organize and describe the risks unique to
your project. Buy a copy and give it to your manager as a gift, even if you have
to give it to yourself."
Journal of Object Technology
[DeMarco & Lister's] informal, easy-to-read style and generally felt this
book provides a good lens through which to view risk management. . . .
would recommend reading the entire text. If you only have a passing interest in
risk management, this book will at least give you some key ideas for dealing with
"Remember that old jingle, 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke?'
Well I'd like to buy the world an heirloom box set of Waltzing With Bears
and Lister and DeMarco's other masterpiece, Peopleware. These slender volumes
both put the torch to all the familiar idiocies taking place every day in software
project management the world over. Warning: exposure to such high levels of sense
and refreshing sanity may result in a desire to quit your job and start your own