Mythical Man-Months et al

I’ve never actually read Fred Brooks’ Mythical Man-Month, but have picked up many of it’s ideas by cultural osmosis.  I think I’m not alone, it’s a book that’s very popular by reputation, but perhaps not actually very influential in terms of it’s ideas actually being internalized by project managers and architects.

Or as Brooks himself said:

Some people have called the book the “bible of software engineering.” I would agree with that in one respect: that is, everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it.

Ha. I should really get around to reading it, I routinely run into things that remind me of the ideas I understand from it that I’ve just sort of absorbed (perhaps inaccurately).

In the meantime, here’s another good quote from Brooks to stew upon:

The ratio of function to conceptual complexity is the ultimate test of system design.

Quite profound really. Terribly frustrating to work with software packages can, I think, almost always be described in those terms: The ratio of function to conceptual complexity is far, far too low.  That is nearly(?) the definition of a frustrating to work with software package.

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