The Mythical Man-Month
Essays on Software Engineering
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Brooks’ book may be a classic, and even a “must read”, but it is certainly dated. For example today it is possible to add experienced C++ programmers to a well structured C++ project at any point. Maybe we don’t have silver bullets for today’s requirements but I am sure the development system on my desk right now would have looked a lot like a silver bullet in 1975. I have been doing software development roughly since The Mythical Manmonth was published, and if more than half of what Brooks said is still true I would be very surprised.
For myself I have come to believe that the biggest factor in good software is good architecture. This is something most managers don’t concern themselves with. Until they start to worry about who is designing software, how the design is enforced, and how it is changed to track new requirements and unanticipated factors they will be at the mercy of projects and people they don’t control.