Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition Anniversary Edition
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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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|Hire, Motivate, and Mentor a Software Development Team that Functions at the Highest Level||Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams||Productive Projects and Teams||The Most Influential Book on Software Project Management|
|Description||In this video training, Mickey and Ron explain what makes managing programmers uniquely challenging, and then provide lessons and tools to hire and manage on-board new programmers successfully, manage and motivate programmers, manage bosses and peers, manage yourself, develop a successful programming culture, and deliver results successfully.||Drawing on their software development and management experience, and highlighting the insights and wisdom of other successful managers, Mantle and Lichty provide the rules, tools, and insights you need to manage and understand people and teams in order to deliver software successfully and avoid projects that have run catastrophically over schedule and budget.||The unique insight of this longtime bestseller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They're not easy issues; but solve them, and you'll maximize your chances of success.||With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects.|
|Endorsement||"It covers all the essential points a development manager should pay attention to. It will put anyone who wishes on a solid carreer track and make their teams happy teams. Experienced programming managers will be able to closely relate to many of the points and perhaps also disvover areas they may have neglected." — Raimundstrauck, Safari Reviewer.||“Their rules of thumb and coaching advice are great blueprints for new and experienced software engineering managers alike.” —Tom Conrad, CTO, Pandora.||“'Peopleware' has long been one of my two favorite books on software engineering...Their premise is right: most software project problems are sociological, not technological. The insights on team jelling and work environment have changed my thinking and teaching.” — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Author of 'The Mythical Man-Month'.||"When Microsoft started growing seriously in the 1980s, everybody there had read The Mythical Man-Month, one of the classics of software management. (If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.) The main point of that book was that when you add more programmers to a late project, it gets even later. " — Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software and co-founder of Stack Overflow.|
|About the Author(s)||Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty's software careers have spanned system software, multimedia, interface development, shrink-wrapped products, software-as-a-service, embedded devices, IT, Internet applications, professional services, and data warehousing and analytics, but they have seldom found the problems that plague software development to be domain or channel specific.||Mickey W. Mantle has directed R&D teams around the world and managed multidisciplinary teams working 24/7 to deliver successful products. With experience in selecting, establishing, and managing offshore development organizations in India, Russia, Canada, and Japan, he brings insight into the challenges of managing software development using diverse staff and teams that are hours and oceans apart. Ron Lichty has been developing software for 30 years. In consulting engagements in America and Europe, he has helped development groups overcome roadblocks, untangle organizational knots, and become more productive.||Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister are principals of the Atlantic Systems Guild, a consulting firm specializing in the complex processes of system building, with particular emphasis on the human dimension. Together, they have lectured, written, and consulted internationally since 1979 on management, estimating, productivity, and corporate culture.||Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr. is a computer architect, software engineer, and computer scientist. He is best known as the "father of the IBM System/360", having served as project manager for its development and later as manager of the Operating System/360 software project during its design phase. For this work he, Bob Evans, and Erick Block were awarded and received a National Medal of Technology in 1985.|
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.
- Publisher : Addison-Wesley Professional; Anniversary edition (August 2, 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0201835959
- ISBN-13 : 978-0201835953
- Item Weight : 1.01 pounds
- Dimensions : 9.07 x 6.11 x 0.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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It is remarkable how well this book has aged. We continue to invent new methodologies and structural fads in the software and computing industry -- and we continue to stub our toes and rediscover much of what is in this book.
I agree with the other commentators here who recommend this book to people in other fields - it describes the complexities of all development tasks although it's very specific to the hardware and software field.
Many of his ideas that were new knowledge then are norms today.
So many gems, just a few:
- Psychological safety is an important aspect of creativity
- Programmers also hated writing documentation in the 1960s
- If you are working in an "accidental" or supporting technology area vs. the actual value-added portion, be prepared for that to go away
He did change his thinking regarding compartmentalization, which is clearly stated in the updated edition. One has to get past 1960s details (IBM OS/360, male references) and be a thinking enough person to see the ideas rather than just the words to gain value from this book.
Someone at DuckDuckGo is also a fan, it hits on mm-m. Great book, and best wishes to Dr. Brooks.
IMHO, Brooks has distilled fundamental truths; you might find his ideas slightly outdated; but all will agree Brooks offers at least excellent insights. To list but a few: build times determine programmer work cycle; agreement on high-level goals is essential; dev tools make a huge difference; visualizing code is a hard problem; programmers are optimists.
=== Superbly edited ===
If you've a background in editing (developmental down to line), you will be impressed by this text. "Perfection is achieved, "said Saint-Exupery, "when there's nothing left to take away"; and that is absolutely the case here. Every point is pertinent to the thesis, every sentence is necessary, every phrase concise. (I cannot say the same of Brooks's follow-on book, "Design of Design".)
=== Classy ===
Brooks was the project manager for the OS/300, a $5B endeavor that IBM bet its future on, an engineering effort of the highest magnitude, and a spectacular success. But whenever he mentions an aspect or feature where he feels OS/300 excelled, he always gives complete credit to whomever designed that aspect or implemented that feature; and whenever he mentions an area where he feels OS/300 fell short, he takes complete personal responsibility for the shortcoming.
Top reviews from other countries
All I gotta say is that for an Addison Wesley anniversary edition and for the price I paid for it (GBP 22) I was expecting a good quality print. But the paper, cover and binding feel cheap, images are not properly scaled.
Frankly, I could have printed a better version at home.
Not worth your money.
I'd still say it's a relevant read, but there have been bigger S/W screwups in more recent years, (UK NHS databases anyone?) so there is plenty more material to read on how not to do it.
Some of the lessons have become irrelevant due to technological advances enabling new approaches to bypass the problems being described