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Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior

Book Description

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.

    Table of Contents

    1. Title Page
    2. Copyright Page
    3. Early Praise for Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies
    4. Also Available from Dorset House Publishing
    5. Contents
    6. Introduction
    7. 1. Adrenaline Junkies
    8. 2. Rattle Yer Dags
    9. 3. Dead Fish
    10. 4. Happy Clappy Meetings
    11. 5. Nanny
    12. 6. Referred Pain
    13. 7. Mañana
    14. 8. Eye Contact
    15. 9. Management By Mood Ring
    16. 10. True Believer
    17. 11. Lease Your Soul
    18. 12. System Development Lemming Cycle
    19. 13. No Bench
    20. 14. Face Time
    21. 15. I Gave You a Chisel. Why Aren’t You Michelangelo?
    22. 16. Dashboards
    23. 17. Endless Huddle
    24. 18. Young Pups and Old Dogs
    25. 19. Film Critics
    26. 20. One Throat to Choke
    27. Interlude: Project-Speak
    28. 21. Soviet Style
    29. 22. Natural Authority
    30. 23. The Too-Quiet Office
    31. 24. The White Line
    32. 25. Silence Gives Consent
    33. 26. Straw Man
    34. 27. Counterfeit Urgency
    35. 28. Time Removes Cards from Your Hand
    36. 29. Lewis & Clark
    37. 30. Short Pencil
    38. 31. Rhythm
    39. 32. The Overtime Predictor
    40. 33. Poker Night
    41. 34. False Quality Gates
    42. 35. Testing Before Testing
    43. 36. Cider House Rules
    44. 37. Talk Then Write
    45. 38. Project Sluts
    46. 39. Atlas
    47. 40. Everyone Wears Clothes for a Reason
    48. 41. Peer Preview
    49. 42. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
    50. 43. It’s Always the Goddamned Interfaces
    51. 44. The Blue Zone
    52. 45. News Improvement
    53. 46. Telling the Truth Slowly
    54. 47. Practicing Endgame
    55. 48. The Music Makers
    56. 49. Journalists
    57. 50. The Empty Chair
    58. 51. My Cousin Vinny
    59. 52. Feature Soup
    60. 53. Data Qualty
    61. 54. Ben
    62. 55. Miss Manners
    63. 56. Undivided Attention
    64. 57. “There’s No Crying in Baseball!”
    65. 58. Cool Hand Luke
    66. 59. Shipping On-Time, Every Time
    67. 60. Food++
    68. 61. Orphaned Deliverables
    69. 62. Hidden Beauty
    70. 63. I Don’t Know
    71. 64. Children of Lake Wobegon
    72. 65. Co-Education
    73. 66. Seelenverwandtschaft
    74. 67. Phillips Head
    75. 68. Predicting Innovation
    76. 69. Marilyn Munster
    77. Interlude: The Cutting Room Floor
    78. 70. Brownie in Motion
    79. 71. Loud and Clear
    80. 72. Safety Valve
    81. 73. Babel
    82. 74. Surprise!
    83. 75. Fridge Door
    84. 76. The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow
    85. 77. Piling On
    86. 78. Seasons for Change
    87. 79. Paper Mill
    88. 80. Offshore Follies
    89. 81. War Rooms
    90. 82. What Smell?
    91. 83. Lessons Unlearned
    92. 84. Sanctity of the Half-Baked Idea
    93. 85. Leakage
    94. 86. Template Zombies
    95. Photo Credits
    96. Pattern Index
    97. About the Guild