McCarthy’s 23 1/2 Rules

All of this even more valid today than it did nearly twenty years ago when Jim McCarthy’s Dynamics of Software Development. It’s as much about group psychology as it is about managing software development and foreshadowed Agile and Scrum.


  1. Don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Get to a know state and stay there.
  3. Remember the triangle.
  4. Don’t go dark.
  5. Use feature teams.
  6. Use ZD Milestones.
  7. Don’t flip the Bozo bit
  8. Beware of a guy in a room.
  9. When slipping, don’t fall.
  10. Never trade a bad date for an equally bad date.
  11. Low tech is good.
  12. Design time at design time.
  13. If you build it, it will ship.
  14. Enrapture the customer.
  15. Remember one thing – Unity.
  16. State your theme.
  17. Go for scenarios.
  18. Established a shared vision.
  19. Categorize the content.
  20. Get behind the paradigms.
  21. Cycle rapidly.
  22. Ride waves.
  23. Get the team into ship mode.

And last but not least…

23 1/2 Everything is done on Monday.

Dynamics of Software Development (Paperback)

Shipping great software can be done, insists McCarthy, and charts, in five sections, the progress from initial design to successful product. McCarthy is a software industry veteran and the director of the Microsoft Visual C++ development group.
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© 2013, Bob Baldwin. All rights reserved.

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