Stephen A. Fuqua (saf)

a Bahá'í, software engineer, and nature lover in Austin, Texas, USA

Review and Reflection on "The Mythical Man-Month" by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.

Dr. Brooks is my new… well, I can’t think of an appropriate noun. Certainly not a deity. One book does not make him a favorite tech author. Static text cannot make him a mentor. Maybe tech hero?

The Mythical Man-Month is a true classic. Many have heard of it; I wonder how many in my generation have taken the time to read it? Although it was written primarily* in the mid-seventies, based on experiences from the mid-sixties, it nevertheless offers

  1. Brilliant insights on the working of computers and software;
  2. Brilliant insights on the workings of the people who work on them;
  3. Unintentional but illuminating lessons in history;
  4. A powerful argument for the importance of _process_ but against its ossification;
  5. And of course, much sage advice.

(* the copy I found at a Half-Price is a 20th-anniversary edition with additional information, and valuable, essays written in the eighties and nineties).

This post will begin a series of reflections based on little sticky notes I used to remind myself of Lessons Learned or To Be Explored. That in itself was a lesson learned, but from elsewhere. I had probably thought to do it before, but was too frugal to “waste” my sticky notes this way. Should’ve been doing this for years.

Posted with : Tech, General Programming, Book reviews and commentaries