Understanding Software Projects

With Steve McConnell

Get Steve’s latest thinking on effective software development.

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Steve McConnell describes this unique lecture series

“I thought about presenting the lessons I’ve learned since the publication of my books as a new book titled Understanding Software Projects, but ultimately I decided to create a series of chalk talks—informal lectures that I develop as I go—to share what I and my company, Construx, have learned working with our clients over the past several years. I also wanted to capture some content that I haven’t previously published in my books but that has been formative in my thinking for many years.

Because this is a lecture series, it’s different from our Construx OnDemand courses. One difference is that this is really a work in progress. You’re going to notice changes as we go—the content and outline shifting around—because there will be content evolution. You might also notice some gaps in the content because I’m not creating lectures in the exact presentation order they’ll end up in. The goal is to get you new material sooner rather than later and to finalize the organization once I’ve completed all of the lectures.

I’m enjoying creating the content in this way. I think it’s an interesting way to present material, and it’s a good way for me to release new material in a really timely way. I hope you enjoy consuming content presented this way as well.”


The Understanding Software Projects lecture series is planned to eventually include approximately 95 lectures. Steve explains the Four Factors Lifecycle Model and how understanding the model means understanding virtually every significant aspect of software project dynamics. Topics include the role of Size, Uncertainty, Human Variation, and Defects in the Four Factors Model. Steve also describes numerous case studies that illustrate how to apply the model to gain insights into your software projects. The overarching goal is broadening your comprehension of the software projects you might encounter in your career.

With the deeper understanding that you gain from this lecture series, you will be able to:

  • Plan your projects to meet their cost, schedule, quality, and functionality goals
  • Diagnose and correct your project’s problems faster and more confidently
  • Accelerate the rate of improvement in your organization
  • Respond appropriately to new developments, including new technologies and new software development practices

Resources: A workbook accompanies each lecture
Last Updated: January 2019
Current Duration: 12h 24m

Steve McConnell

Your instructor
Steve McConnell
Construx CEO / Author of Code Complete


Getting Started
0.6 – Terms and Notations
The Four Factors: Size
The Four Factors: Uncertainty
The Four Factors: Defects
The Software Lifecycle Model

Construx OnDemand: Empowering these software teams