Antipatterns: Managing Software Organizations and People, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover


Managing Software Organizations and People, Second Edition

By Colin J. Neill, Philip A. Laplante, Joanna F. DeFranco

© 2012 – Auerbach Publications

327 pages | 72 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439861868
pub: 2011-12-13
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pub: 2012-02-28
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Emphasizing leadership principles and practices, Antipatterns: Managing Software Organizations and People, Second Edition catalogs 49 business practices that are often precursors to failure. This updated edition of a bestseller not only illustrates bad management approaches, but also covers the bad work environments and cultural traits commonly found in IT, software development, and other business domains. For each antipattern, it describes the situation and symptoms, gives examples, and offers a refactoring solution.

The authors, graduate faculty at Penn State University, avoid an overly scholarly style and infuse the text with entertaining sidebars, cartoons, stories, and jokes. They provide names for the antipatterns that are visual, humorous, and memorable. Using real-world anecdotes, they illustrate key concepts in an engaging manner. This updated edition sheds light on new management and environmental antipattems and includes a new chapter, six updated chapters, and new discussion questions. Topics covered include leadership principles, environmental antipatterns, group patterns, management antipatterns, and team leadership.

Following introductory material on management theory and human behavior, the text catalogs the full range of management, cultural, and environmental antipatterns. It includes thought-provoking exercises that each describe a situation, ask which antipatterns are present, and explain how to refactor the situation. It provides time-tested advice to help you overcome bad practices through successful interaction with your clients, customers, peers, supervisors, and subordinates.

Table of Contents

Patterns and Antipatterns

A Timeless Way of Building

Pattern Structure


Many Eyes

Antipattern Structure

Management and Environmental Antipatterns

Consistency and Completeness


Human Patterns and Antipatterns

Human Patterns

Human Antipatterns and Negative Personality Types

Chapter Exercises


Group Patterns and Antipatterns

Team Theories

Tuckman’s Theory of Teams

Overcoming Team Dysfunction

Sports Analogies to Teams

Evolution to Antipatterns

Chapter Exercises


Successfully Leading Teams

The Growth of Team Size

Micromanagers and Laissez-Faire Managers

Theory X

Theory Y

Theory Z

Leadership Theories

General Advice

Chapter Exercises


Management Antipatterns

Absentee Manager

All You Have Is a Hammer

Cage Match Negotiator


Fruitless Hoops

Golden Child

Headless Chicken

Leader Not Manager

Manager Not Leader

Managerial Cloning

Metric Abuse

Mr. Nice Guy

Mushroom Management

Planning with Gantt Regard

Proletariat Hero

Rising Upstart

Road to Nowhere

Spineless Executive

Three-Headed Knight

Ultimate Weapon

Warm Bodies

Chapter Exercises


Environmental Antipatterns

Ant Colony

Atlas Shrug

Autonomous Collective

Boiling Frog Syndrome

Burning Bag of Dung

Buzzword Mania

Divergent Goals

Dogmatic about Dysfunction

Dunkirk Spirit

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Fairness Doctrine

Fools Rush In


French Waiter Syndrome

Frienemies By Design

Geek Hazing

Institutional Mistrust

Kiosk City


One-Eyed King

Orange Stand Economics

Pitcairn Island

Potemkin Village

Process Clash

Rubik’s Cube

Shoeless Children

Work Breakdown Architectures

Worshipping the Golden Calf


General Advice in Dealing with Antipatterns

Be Kind

Do Not Blame Other People

Learn to Deliver Bad News

Do Not Worry for Other People

Do Not Shoot the Messenger

Let People Learn from Their Mistakes

Just Get It Done

Remember the Law of Unintended Consequences



Never Give Up

Never Attribute to Malice What Stupidity Can Explain

Remember that Luck Can Play a Role

Remember that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Remember that People Despise in Others What They Hate in Themselves

Use Golden Rule Management

Never Mess with Space, Title, or Salary

Be a Mentor

Always Set and Meet Expectations

Remember that You Take the Same Person with You Wherever You Go



Work Breakdown Structure

WBS Construction

WBS Rules


Cone of Uncertainty




Critical Path Method

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)




About the Authors

Joanna F. DeFranco is assistant professor of software engineering and a member of the graduate faculty at The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining Penn State, she held faculty positions at Cabrini College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She also held a number of positions in industry and government, including as an electronics engineer for the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, PA, and as a software engineer at Motorola in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Dr. DeFranco received her BS in electrical engineering from Penn State, MS in computer engineering from Villanova University, and PhD in computer and information science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is a member of ASEE and has had numerous publications in journals and conference proceedings. She is also on the curriculum advisory board for a local technical high school.

Phillip A. Laplante is professor of software engineering and affiliate professor of information science and technology at The Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Penn State, he was a professor and senior academic administrator at several other colleges and universities.Prior to his academic career, Dr. Laplante spent nearly eight years as a software engineer and project manager working on avionics (including the Space Shuttle), CAD (Computer Aided Design), and software test systems. He was also director of business development for a boutique software consulting firm. He has authored or edited 27 books and more than 200 papers, articles, and editorials.

Dr. Laplante received his BS, MEng, and PhD degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, and computer science, respectively, from Stevens Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Colorado. He is a fellow of the IEEE and a member of numerous professional societies, program committees, and boards. He is consultant to Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Department of Defense, and NASA on technical and management issues. He also serves as a CIO/CEO coach.

Colin J. Neill is associate professor of software and systems engineering and associate division head of engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining Penn State, he worked as a research officer at the University of Wales Swansea, as a certified software process assessor and auditor, and as a software engineering consultant for a number of organizations in the United Kingdom and Europe. Notable experiences during this period included working on manufacturing strategies with Rover Cars and enterprise system selection, installation, and enhancement with British Aerospace.

Dr. Neill received his BEng in electrical and electronic engineering, MS in communication systems, and PhD in software and systems engineering from the University of Wales Swansea. He is a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and he is the author of more than 70 articles and book chapters. Additionally, he serves as a member of several journal editorial boards and academic conference committees. He conducts research for a number of companies and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He is a rabid fan of Philadelphia professional sports teams.

About the Series

Applied Software Engineering Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Software Development & Engineering / General