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Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.


The added chapters contain (1) a crisp condensation of all the propositions asserted in the original book, including Brooks' central argument in The Mythical Man-Month: that large programming projects suffer management problems different from small ones due to the division of labor; that the conceptual integrity of the product is therefore critical; and that it is difficult but possible to achieve this unity; (2) Brooks' view of these propositions a generation later; (3) a reprint of his classic 1986 paper "No Silver Bullet"; and (4) today's thoughts on the 1986 assertion, "There will be no silver bullet within ten years."

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The Mythical Man-Month, Anniversary Edition: Essays On Software Engineering
Average rating
5 / 5
It's a classic for a reason.
September 26th, 2015
This should be required reading for anyone attempting to run a software project of any kind. Some readers are put off by the age of this work, which does show in places. My team no longer needs a "programming clerk" who files the various revisions of our code on paper, and aids in making comparisons. We have git. However, it's not that hard to see that while we've automated that particular position, we still need it. If you have any business managing a software team, you're smart enough to read through those things and realize how they apply a bit differently now. What I most want readers to learn from this book: * The importance of having a coherent architecture before beginning to build a nontrivial piece of software, and how to enforce it throughout the development process. * That "programmer", "senior programmer", and "architect" are not the only useful programmer designations, and building a team with a flat hierarchy is not the most efficient approach to nontrivial programming projects. * Many specialties -- such as tester, toolmaster, etc. -- are highly valuable. * Rigor is your friend. Make time for architecture and testing; when complex software is done well, these will be the majority of your effort, not writing new code.
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