Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior

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This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).

Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .

Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”

But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.

In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.

The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you’ll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them.

The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what’s happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. You’ll find classic patterns such as these:

  • News Improvement
  • Management by Mood Ring
  • Piling On
  • Rattle Yer Dags
  • Natural Authority
  • Food++
  • Fridge Door
  • and more than eighty more!

Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you’ll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.


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User Review  - BenLinders - LibraryThing

The book "Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, Understanding Patterns of project behavior" contains 86 patterns, written in an easy readable and recognizable style which make you think about how ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jorgearanda - LibraryThing

I love the authors, but this list of patterns of project dynamics feels rushed, poorly argued, and unsatisfying. Read full review


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Endless Huddle
Young Pups and Old Dogs

Eye Contact
True Believer
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About the author (2013)

Tom DeMarco is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild and the author or coauthor of nine books on subjects ranging from development methods to organizational function and dysfunction, as well as two novels and a book of short stories. His consulting practice focuses primarily on expert witness work, balanced against the occasional project and team consulting assignment. For the past three years, he has taught undergraduate ethics at the University of Maine. He lives with his wife, Sally O. Smyth, in Camden, Maine.

Peter Hruschka, a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild based in Aachen, Germany, is widely regarded as one of the fathers of CASE and modeling tools. He has taught and consulted on system and software development methods since the 1970s, and has worked in more than thirty countries on three continents. He is author of more than a dozen books, mostly in German, dealing with software architecture, requirements engineering, and agile methods. When he is not working, he is usually found with his wife, Monika, in some of the most scenic parts of the world, trying to hit little white balls into holes that are far too small.

Tim Lister divides his time among consulting, teaching, and writing. He is coauthor, with Tom DeMarco, of Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects (Dorset House Publishing, 2003) and Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, originally published by Dorset House in 1987 and now in its third edition (Addison-Wesley, 2013). Based in Manhattan, he is a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild; a member of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Cutter IT Trends Council; and a Cutter Fellow.

Steve McMenamin is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hawaiian Electric Co., and a principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild, based in Southern California. Before joining Hawaiian Electric, he held executive positions at Borland Software Corp., BEA Systems, Inc., and Southern California Edison. He is also coauthor of Essential Systems Analysis (Prentice Hall, 1984).

James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson have helped hundreds of companies improve their requirements techniques and move into the fast lane of system development. Their courses and seminars on requirements, analysis, and design are widely praised for their innovative approach. The Robertsons are London-based principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, specializing in the human dimensions of complex system building. They are also coauthors of Complete Systems Analysis (Dorset House, 1994) and Mastering the Requirements Process, Third Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2012), and are the developers of the Volere requirements techniques.

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