Posted by: h4ck@lyst | March 22, 2009

The Mythical Man-Month

“The Bible of Software Engineering”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks, whose central theme is that “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” This idea is known as Brooks’ law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping. The work was first published in 1975 (0-201-00650-2), reprinted with corrections in 1982, and republished as an anniversary edition with four extra chapters in 1995 (ISBN 0-201-83595-9) with the essay “No Silver Bullet” and commentary by the author.

Brooks’s observations are based on his experiences at IBM while managing the development of OS/360. He had mistakenly added more workers to a project falling behind schedule. He also made the mistake of asserting that one project — writing an Algol compiler — would require six months, regardless of the number of workers involved. (It required longer.) The tendency for managers to repeat such errors in project development led Brooks to quip that his book is called “The Bible of Software Engineering” because “everybody reads it but nobody does anything about it!”


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