Many people in the software industry are thrust into positions of responsibility for software project outcomes, but few are given formal or informal training in how to make that happen. In this two-day course, the workshop leader describes specific steps that small and medium-sized development teams should take to succeed on projects from three to 12 months long. This Software Survival Process is based both on the instructor's direct experiences on software projects and on experience gained from Construx Software's project assessment and project recovery consulting business.

Case studies are interspersed throughout the workshop to illustrate how survival principles apply to a variety of real-world situations. These case studies are drawn from headlines in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Business Week, as well as drawn from Construx Software's own experience.

This seminar is based on Steve McConnell's best-selling book
Software Project Survival Guide. 2-day seminar


Attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of the major issues that affect software project success. They will have time to discuss their specific issues with the instructor. They will practice techniques that they can apply to their own projects when they return to work, and they will develop a back-to-work action plan.

Who Should Attend

This seminar will be useful to software engineers, developers and anyone who wants to learn how to make their software project a success.


All of our public classes are held at the Construx Training Center

Introduction to Software Project Survival

  • A view of software development at its best
  • Example improvement results

Software Survival Challenges

  • Project survival test
  • Common causes of project failure
  • Common survival challenges

Quality and Software Effectiveness

  • Cost of quality
  • When quality costs more
  • How to reduce costs of low quality
  • Quality rules of thumb

Key Survival Concepts

  • Intellectual phase profiles
  • Cone of uncertainty
  • Iron triangle

Software Fundamentals

  • Technical fundamentals
  • Technical-management fundamentals
  • Quality fundamentals

Process and Software Project Survival

  • Process and thrashing
  • Process pitfalls
  • Effect of process on morale

Key Survival Skill: Planning Checkpoint Reviews (Feasibility Studies)

  • Key characteristics of planning checkpoint reviews
  • Planning checkpoint review deliverables
  • Benefits of planning checkpoint reviews

Key Survival Skill: Risk Management

  • Identifying risks
  • Analyzing risks
  • Prioritizing risks
  • Specific techniques for risk management
  • Extrinsic vs. intrinsic risk management

Key Survival Skill: Change Control

  • Change control procedure
  • Streamlining change control
  • Items to put under change control
  • Benefits of change control

Key Survival Skill: Project Tracking

  • Tracking state of the art
  • Tracking cost and effort
  • Tracking schedule
  • Tracking quality
  • Tracking functionality

Software Best Practices

Back-To-Work Action Plan

Steve McConnell

Steve McConnell is CEO and Chief Software Engineer at Construx Software where he consults to a broad range of industries, teaches seminars, and oversees Construx’s ...

Steve Tockey

Steve Tockey is the Principal Consultant at Construx Software. During more than three and a half decades in the software industry, he has worked as a programmer, ...

Earl Beede

Earl Beede, CSDP is a Senior Fellow at Construx Software, where he designs and leads seminars and provides consulting services on early project-lifecycle practices, ...