Understanding Software Projects

With Steve McConnell

Get Steve’s latest thinking on effective software development, with a lecture series titled Understanding Software Projects (USP) delivered over the course of 2017 and 2018.

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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, you’re going to notice the content and outline shifting around, and there is going to be some evolution. I’m going to be adding content for at least another year [from early 2017]. You may also notice some gaps in the content because I’m going to be creating lectures not necessarily in the exact presentation order they’ll end up in. The goal is to get you new material sooner rather than much later.

I’m enjoying creating the content in this way. It’s a new experience for me. 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 (USP) lecture series is planned to eventually include approximately 80 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. In the series, Steve also describes numerous case studies that illustrate how to apply the model to gain insights into your software projects. While additional specific topic videos are still being produced and added, the ultimate, overarching goal is understanding, or teaching you topics to broaden your comprehension of software projects you might encounter.

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: March 2018
Duration: 9h 18m

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

OnDemand pricing

Frequently asked questions

Who is Construx?

Construx has been teaching companies the best practices for making software teams successful and efficient for over 20 years. We’re devoted to mastering these concepts and ideas and spreading them so that every software project can be successful. Our founder is Steve McConnell, one of the most well respected authors (Code Complete, etc) in the software industry.

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How does the free trial work?

Start a trial and you’ll have instant access to our entire OnDemand catalog. Navigate to any course you find interesting and start learning. You’ll have access now through the new year to try any courses you’d like.

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What courses will I have access to?

We are continually adding new courses and updated content to the OnDemand catalog. Our current courses can be found here on our course catalog.

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