Software Development Pearls
Lessons from Fifty Years of Software Experience

Karl Wiegers
Addison-Wesley, 2022
Software Development Pearls

Experience is a powerful teacher, but it is also slow and painful. Software practitioners can't afford to make every mistake others have suffered. This book helps you compress your learning curve—and bypass much of the pain—by absorbing lessons from others who have served in the trenches before you.

From my 50+ years of experience with software and drawing on more than 25 years of helping software teams succeed in nearly 150 organizations, I present 60 lessons you can apply to projects, regardless of the application domain, technology, or development lifecycle. Highly pragmatic and illustrated with more than 100 true-story experiences, these principles, perspectives, and practices have proven valid for decades, and they will remain relevant for many years to come.

Software Development Pearls covers multiple crucial domains of project success: requirements, design, project management, culture and teamwork, quality, and process improvement. Each chapter suggests several "First Steps" and "Next Steps" to help you begin applying its content immediately—and begin developing products more successfully.


Key Features       Videos & Podcasts       Reviewer Comments       Sample       Lesson List       Contact

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Key Features

  • Addresses six critical topic areas of software development: requirements, design, project management, culture and teamwork, quality, and process improvement.
  • Includes an introductory overview tutorial for each topic area
  • Describes 59 important lessons about software development, amply illustrated with true stories from actual experience, with key learnings highlighted and guidance for applying the insight from each pearl of wisdom
  • Presents First Steps at the beginning of each topic area to help you begin assessing your current performance in that area
  • Suggests Next Steps at the end of each topic area that help you begin immediately applying the guidance, tutorial information, and tips provided
  • Concludes with a final lesson and many tips for how to launch the improvement journey of applying the lessons in your world and achieving superior results

Videos and Podcasts


What the Reviewers Say

"This practical book is Karl's attempt to lead others out of software darkness and into the light. As with his other books, there is more pragmatism than theory. Karl is one of the most thoughtful software people I know. He has reflected deeply on the software development irritants he has encountered over his career, and this book contains 60 of his most valuable responses."
Steve McConnell, Construx Software

"Wouldn't it be great to gain a lifetime's experience early in your career, when it's most useful, without having to pay for the inevitable errors of your own experience? It's valuable to know where the most expensive potholes are and which potholes people keep hitting time and time again. From Karl's knowledge you'll gain concise but important insights into how to recover from setbacks as well as how to avoid them in the first place. My own half-century of experience confirms that he's right on the money with the lessons that he's chosen for Software Development Pearls."
Meilir Page-Jones, Senior Business Analyst, Wayland Systems Inc.

"Karl has done it again! He's created yet another wonderful book full of well-rounded advice for software developers. His wisdom will be relatable to all development professionals and students—young and old, new and experienced. Many software development books are so dry to read, but as with all of Karl's books, he keeps it light and engaging, chock-full of relatable stories and a few funny comments. An enjoyable read plus practical advice—you can't go wrong!
Joy Beatty, Vice President at Seilevel

"Karl's Software Development Pearls achieves the challenging goal of capturing and explaining many insights that you're unlikely to be exposed to in your training, that most practitioners learn through the school of hard knocks, and yet are critical to developing great software. These insights will help you save time, collaborate more effectively, build better systems, and change your view on common misconceptions. Software Development Pearls is an easy read and is backed by a wide range of references to other experts who have discovered these same insights in their travels."
Jim Brosseau, Clarrus

"This is an excellent book for anyone involved in software development. One of the brilliant aspects of the book is the way it is organized into self-contained lessons. Once you read them, they work like memes—memorable chunks of distilled knowledge that spring to mind when you need them. As Karl says in Lesson #7, 'The cost of recording knowledge is small compared to the cost of acquiring knowledge.' Not only is that good advice for practitioners, it also neatly captures why you should buy this book."
Howard Podeswa, Author of The Agile Guide To Business Analysis and Planning: From Strategic Plan to Continuous Value Delivery

"This is a collection of lessons that Karl has learned over his long and, I can say this honestly, distinguished career. It is not simply a list of pearls of wisdom—each lesson is carefully argued and explained. Each one carries an explanation of why it is important to you, and importantly, how you might bring the lesson to your reality."
James Robertson, Author of Mastering the Requirements Process