Programming Books C Java PHP Python Learn more Browse Programming Books
Mythical Man-Month, The and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering
Sell Us Your Item
For a $4.07 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading Mythical Man-Month, The on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)

Buy New
$27.64 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
Rent
$21.07
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
In Stock.
Rented by RentU and Fulfilled by Amazon.
Want it Monday, July 14? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $17.59  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $27.64  
Shop the new tech.book(store)
New! Introducing the tech.book(store), a hub for Software Developers and Architects, Networking Administrators, TPMs, and other technology professionals to find highly-rated and highly-relevant career resources. Shop books on programming and big data, or read this week's blog posts by authors and thought-leaders in the tech industry. > Shop now

Book Description

August 12, 1995 0201835959 978-0201835953 Anniversary

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."


Frequently Bought Together

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) + Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition) + Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
Price for all three: $88.92

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The classic book on the human elements of software engineering. Software tools and development environments may have changed in the 21 years since the first edition of this book, but the peculiarly nonlinear economies of scale in collaborative work and the nature of individuals and groups has not changed an epsilon. If you write code or depend upon those who do, get this book as soon as possible -- from Amazon.com Books, your library, or anyone else. You (and/or your colleagues) will be forever grateful. Very Highest Recommendation.

From the Inside Flap

To my surprise and delight, The Mythical Man-Month continues to be popular after twenty years. Over 250,000 copies are in print. People often ask which of the opinions and recommendations set forth in 1975 I still hold, and which have changed, and how. Whereas I have from time to time addressed that question in lectures, I have long wanted to essay it in writing.

Peter Gordon, now a Publishing Partner at Addison-Wesley, has been working with me patiently and helpfully since 1980. He proposed that we prepare an Anniversary Edition. We decided not to revise the original, but to reprint it untouched (except for trivial corrections) and to augment it with more current thoughts.

Chapter 16 reprints "No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering," a 1986 IFIPS paper that grew out of my experience chairing a Defense Science Board study on military software. My co-authors of that study, and our executive secretary, Robert L. Patrick, were invaluable in bringing me back into touch with real-world large software projects. The paper was reprinted in 1987 in the IEEE Computer magazine, which gave it wide circulation.

"No Silver Bullet" proved provocative. It predicted that a decade would not see any programming technique which would by itself bring an order-of-magnitude improvement in software productivity. The decade has a year to run; my prediction seems safe. "NSB" has stimulated more and more spirited discussion in the literature than has The Mythical Man-Month. Chapter 17, therefore, comments on some of the published critique and updates the opinions set forth in 1986.

In preparing my retrospective and update of The Mythical Man-Month, I was struck by how few of the propositions asserted in it have been critiqued, proven, or disproven by ongoing software engineering research and experience. It proved useful to me now to catalog those propositions in raw form, stripped of supporting arguments and data. In hopes that these bald statements will invite arguments and facts to prove, disprove, update, or refine those propositions, I have included this outline as Chapter 18.

Chapter 19 is the updating essay itself. The reader should be warned that the new opinions are not nearly so well informed by experience in the trenches as the original book was. I have been at work in a university, not industry, and on small-scale projects, not large ones. Since 1986, I have only taught software engineering, not done research in it at all. My research has rather been on virtual reality and its applications.

In preparing this retrospective, I have sought the current views of friends who are indeed at work in software engineering. For a wonderful willingness to share views, to comment thoughtfully on drafts, and to re-educate me, I am indebted to Barry Boehm, Ken Brooks, Dick Case, James Coggins, Tom DeMarco, Jim McCarthy, David Parnas, Earl Wheeler, and Edward Yourdon. Fay Ward has superbly handled the technical production of the new chapters.

I thank Gordon Bell, Bruce Buchanan, Rick Hayes-Roth, my colleagues on the Defense Science Board Task Force on Military Software, and, most especially, David Parnas for their insights and stimulating ideas for, and Rebekah Bierly for technical production of, the paper printed here as Chapter 16. Analyzing the software problem into the categories of essence and accident was inspired by Nancy Greenwood Brooks, who used such analysis in a paper on Suzuki violin pedagogy.

Addison-Wesley's house custom did not permit me to acknowledge in the 1975 Preface the key roles played by their staff. Two persons' contributions should be especially cited: Norman Stanton, then Executive Editor, and Herbert Boes, then Art Director. Boes developed the elegant style, which one reviewer especially cited: "wide margins, and imaginative use of typeface and layout." More important, he also made the crucial recommendation that every chapter have an opening picture. (I had only the Tar Pit and Rheims Cathedral at the time.) Finding the pictures occasioned an extra year's work for me, but I am eternally grateful for the counsel.

Deo soli gloria or Soli Deo Gloria -- To God alone be the glory.

Chapel Hill, N.C., F.

0201835959P04062001


Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; Anniversary edition (August 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201835959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201835953
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
346 of 355 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would give it a 100 stars if I could! May 29, 2004
Format:Paperback
If you have managed some software projects or have worked on some non-trivial software systems, undoubtedly you have faced many difficulties and challenges that you thought were unique to your circumstance. But after reading this book, you will realize that many of the things you experienced, and thought were unique problems, are NOT unique to you but are common systemic problems of developing non-trivial software systems. These problems appear repeatedly and even predictably, in project after project, in company after company, regardless of year, whether it's 1967 or 2007.
You will realize that long before maybe you were even born, other people working at places like IBM had already experienced those problems and quandries. And found working solutions to them which are as valid today as they were 30 years ago.
The suggestions in this book will help you think better and better manage yourself, and be more productive and less wasteful with your time and energy. In short, you will do more with less.
Some of Brooks insights and generalizations are:
The Mythical Man-Month:
Assigning more programmers to a project running behind schedule, may make it even more late.
The Second-System Effect:
The second system an engineer designs is the most bloated system she will EVER design.
Conceptual Integrity:
To retain conceptual integrity and thereby user-friendliness, a system must have a single architect (or a small system architecture team), completely separate from the implementation team.
The Manual:
The chief architect should produce detailed written specifications for the system in the form of the manual, which leaves no ambiguities about any part of the system and completely specifies the external spcifications of the system i.e.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic "must read" February 22, 2001
Format:Paperback
There are few must reads in this industry. This is one. First published in 1975, this work is as applicable to software engineering today as it was then. Why? Because building things, including software, has always been as much about people as it has been about materials or technology--and people don't change much in only 25 years.

In the preface to the First Edition, Brooks states "This book is a belated answer to Tom Watson's probing question as to why programming is hard to manage." This short book (at just over 300 pages) does a masterful job answering that question.

It is here we first hear of Brooks's Law: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." Brooks doesn't just drop that on the reader without explanation. Instead, he walks through the reasoning, discusses how communication in a group changes as the group changes or grows, and how additions to the group need time to climb the learning curve.

Those new to the industry or who are reading the book for the first time might be put off by the examples and technology discussed. Indeed, even in the newly released edition, the original text from 1975 is still present, essentially untouched. So, talk of OS/360 and 7090s, which permeates the text, is perhaps laughable to those not looking deeper. When talking about trade-offs, for example, Brooks offers "... OS/360 devotes 26 bytes of the permanently resident date-turnover routine to the proper handling of December 31 on leap years (when it is day 366). That might have been left to the operator." This is 26 bytes he's talking about!

Brooks provides a light, almost conversational tone to the prose. This isn't to say the observations and analysis were not very well researched.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
138 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must reading, but too seldom read April 27, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In giving testimony before Congress a few years ago on IT issues, I said the following:
"Humanity has been developing information technology for half a century. That experience has taught us this unpleasant truth: virtually every information technology project above a certain size or complexity is significantly late and over budget or fails altogether; those that don't fail are often riddled with defects and difficult to enhance. Fred Brooks explored many of the root causes over twenty years ago in The Mythical Man-Month, a classic book that could be regarded as the Bible of information technology because it is universally known, often quoted, occasionally read, and rarely heeded."
I have been involved in software engineering for over 25 years, have written many articles and even a few books on the subject. Yet every time I think I've discovered some new insight, chances are I can find it tucked away somewhere in The Mythical Man-Month. And the tarpits and other dangers he lays out plague the IT industry today. I wonder when we will grasp and apply the fundamental insights that Brooks, Jerry Weinberg, and others laid out nearly three decades ago. ..bruce..
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldy but Goody March 5, 2001
Format:Paperback
This book is a classic, but recently revised and corrected. The amazing thing is how relevant the book still is to software product development. If you are involved in software, this book is a must-read.
The most valuable part of the book, I believe, is the "plan to throw out" prototype chapter. While the goal is always to make a bigger, better, fast whatever, it is almost an axiom that you WILL build something that has to be discarded and reworked. This absolutely happens every time, I can tell you from first-hand experience. Therefore it is vital to plan to throw out so you can migrate your users to whatever will follow. If you dream that the first product is THE ONE, you risk abandoning them on a product that will inevitably evolve. Planning the throw-away also helps meet the schedule goals by setting reasonable milestones that can be met.
In my role as a product manager for a top-selling software product in its class, I found that the Mythical Man-Month was absolutely vital. However, some additional reading is recommended; Walker Royce's Software Project Management was published in 1998 and adds the dimension of software project evolution. This goes into more detail why you can't write all the specifications upfront, and even if you do, they are certain to change by the time the product is released.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Timeless ...
Published 2 days ago by I F Boag
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal Truth of Software Engineering Concepts
This is "Bhagbad Gita" of Software Engineering Concepts. Almost all concepts will be true for ages to come. A must read for aspiring software architects / managers.
Published 16 days ago by B. Das
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I knew Fred Brooks personally and expected no less than this classic book. Brings back some memories of IBM's System/360.
Published 19 days ago by Caryl A. Thorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for a software engineer!
With the tech boom the way it is now, this book is more relevant than ever. All software engineers and technical managers should read this. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Richard Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss for today's day and age
Reading this as part of a technical book club, we've found this book hit and miss for today's day and age. Read more
Published 27 days ago by M. Fazeli
5.0 out of 5 stars Still excellent
Software development practices have changed a lot since Brooks wrote this book, largely because of the dynamics he analyzes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Greg
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read if you're involved in software or IT projects!
This was the first book I read when taking a job with a project management component for a software development team. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Trevor Vass
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not dated
It's a great read for the historic accounts of things past and makes some decent confirmations about the current software engineering world we live in.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Ever heard about agile methodologies? That is the fad, this is the essence. It would help extreme programming and the such if they built upon such great work instead of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Leandro G. F. DUTRA
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting book
It make you think that the always changing world of IT doesn't really changed that much especially from the management point of view in the last 30 years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Razvan Botez
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 



Look for Similar Items by Category