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The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,553 Ratings  ·  427 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, Anniversary Edition, 322 pages
Published August 12th 1995 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published 1975)
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Sondra Willhite
Oct 16, 2011 Sondra Willhite rated it it was ok
I decided to revisit a few classic management books recently, and I'd always been curious about this one, since it's specific to my field. Originally published in 1975, much has changed in the business of developing software. Most of Brooks examples are taken from OS development teams, and a few chapters emphasize the old tradeoff of memory and speed or functionality. He even suggests that documentation be kept on microfiche. However there is much that is still relevant, such as the usual busine ...more
Igor Tsinman
Jun 14, 2012 Igor Tsinman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming, the-best
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick Brooks это уже классика. Все, кто хоть как-то связан с компютерами и/или проектами просто обязаны прочесть эту книгу. Заказчикам тоже не помешает узнать как все выглядит на самом деле.

The Mythical Man-Month это кладезь, хорошо изложеных замечаний, идей, рекомендаций и еще масса прочего полезного материала. 100 процентов идей Брукса актуальны сегодня!!!

В Израильслих стартапх эта книга хорошо известна, а выражение "Silver Bullet"
...more
Manny
Mar 05, 2011 Manny rated it it was amazing
In this classic book on the software development process, Fred Brooks demolishes several persistent myths. They never quite go away: every new generation just has to learn them over again.

The first and most dangerous of these myths is the belief that putting more people on a project means it'll be completed more quickly. Brooks includes one of the most brilliant graphs I've ever seen, plotting number of women against time required to produce a baby. Would you believe it: the graph is flat at ni
...more
Graham
Sep 06, 2011 Graham rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-books
I read this book originally in college and then re-read it after a couple years of coding professionally. While there are certainly some dated sections, such as the idea of having the analog of a surgical team to code, many of the suggestions have held against the test of time.

The two most popular are "no silver bullets" and "adding developers to a late project makes it later." The former is that no new technology/technique will make an order of magnitude difference in productivity over 10 year
...more
James Oden
Oct 03, 2015 James Oden rated it it was ok
Shelves: computer
Many times when I read a book that is dated, its pearls of wisdom are still there in clear view to be harvested and made use of. I can't say the same thing about the Mythical Man Month. I will grant that Brook's Law still holds, and managers still today stumble over this one. However much of his advice fell flat in the face of the more recent agile development movement and still more recent devops movement. In the end he was still preaching a kind of waterfall type approach to development which ...more
Pratul Kalia
Apr 18, 2016 Pratul Kalia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to print many copies of this book.
I want to print many copies and roll them up.
I want to roll them up and take them to meetings with my clients.
I want to take them to meetings and hit them over the head repeatedly while screaming "more... than... 30... years... and you... still... don't... understand... anything... stop... making... me... write... bad... software...!"

Seriously.
Megha
Mar 04, 2012 Megha rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
04/23/11

Dr. Brooks is the founder of our department, more than enough reason to read his book.

The recent extension to our department building was named after Dr. Brooks. Apparently the money for the building came as an anonymous donation from an alumnus, on the condition that it be named after Dr. Brooks. That is the kind of respect he has won from several people.
Duong Tan
Jan 22, 2015 Duong Tan rated it it was amazing
Năm 1995, trong lời bạt cho lần tái bản kỉ niệm 20 năm xuất bản “The Mythical Man-Month”, tác giả Fred Brooks khẳng định những nhận định cơ bản trong cuốn sách vẫn còn nguyên tính thời sự. Hơn một thập kỉ sau, Mary Poppendieck nhắc lại “Một cuốn sách kinh điển đã trụ vững qua thời gian. Điều đó cho thấy có rất ít thay đổi trong suốt 30 năm qua”. Có lẽ đó là lời gợi mở hữu ích để chúng ta lật giở những trang sách đáng quý, và suy ngẫm xem liệu những nhà quản trị dự án có đang đi lại những vết xe ...more
Nikos Karagiannakis
Mar 19, 2016 Nikos Karagiannakis rated it it was amazing
Ο εκδοτικός οίκος ζήτησε από τον συγγραφέα να μην αλλάξει τίποτα από το αρχικό κείμενο και, επιπλέον, να προσθέσει 4 νέα κεφάλαια.

Στα τελευταία κεφάλαια, ο συγγραφέας κάνει έναν απολογισμό των συμπερασμάτων της αρχικής έκδοσης (1974) σε σχέση με το τι ισχύει την εποχή της επετειακής αυτής έκδοσης (1995).

Η τεχνολογία των αρχικών κεφαλαίων φαντάζει από παλιά και άκρως ενδιαφέρουσα (όπως θα έλεγε κάποιος, σαν εμένα, που ο πρώτος του υπολογιστής ήταν ένα Sinclair ZX81) έως προϊστορική (όπως θα έλεγε
...more
Daria
Dec 19, 2015 Daria rated it it was ok
Except blatant sexism* it was a pretty good book. It's a series of experiences that you gradually pick up when you're working in the software industry. It's a little outdated, e.g. we don't have printed manuals anymore and we don't have to deal with the woes of constantly updating them, but a lot of wisdoms from this book are still valuable.


* the entire book never uses a female pronoun. ever. it makes it sound like engineers, managers, technical leads, clients are always only male. plus there's
...more
Shyam
Nov 07, 2011 Shyam rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech-books
Even for an inexperienced undergraduate student like me, this book made a lasting impression and left me pondering on the various human dynamics involved in software engineering. Definitely a must-read.

Warning: It does get a little dry at times, and most of the examples are very outdated,but the principles explained are timeless.
Maciej
Oct 27, 2014 Maciej rated it liked it
Książka o zarządzaniu projektami IT napisana... 40 lat temu. Przerażające jest to, jak bardzo jest aktualna - wiele problemów opisywanych przez Brooksa nie zniknęło do dzisiaj, a techniki radzenia sobie z nimi są nadal stosowane (choć często pod innymi nazwami).
Oczywiście nie da się ukryć, że sporo informacji w książce jest już bardzo przestarzała (developer powinien tak przygotować program na kartce, by nie zabierać cennego czasu na współdzielonej maszynie; pojawia się "nowatorskie" podejście
...more
Philipp
Apr 14, 2014 Philipp rated it really liked it
Interesting book with a pretty narrow focus, a collection of essays on the management and planning of good software engineering. The author instilled the mistakes and successes of his work on the IBM 360 Operating System in the 70s, and most of what he found still applies today. For example, wisdom like: more programmers make a project only late, and if you add programmers to an already late project, results will arrive even later. Have an architect and a manager, hopefully in two different pers ...more
Rizky Januar
May 25, 2013 Rizky Januar rated it really liked it
This famous and legendary book made me curious about what is inside it. This book tells about the nature of software development but mainly from the software project management perspective. Although it is an old book, primarily from the software projects happened in 1950's to 1970's, most of the content is still relevant in today's software projects. No matter what your role is (a programmer, an architect, a project manager, or a researcher), reading this book would benefit you. It gives you a b ...more
Mouly
Apr 18, 2010 Mouly rated it it was amazing

* Estimating software project completion time is really hard. (Requirements change, software is intangible and it has to fit with idiosyncrasies of human systems)

* Aristocracy in managing projects is better. There should be one final decision maker. Metaphor is a surgical team.

* Cost of coordination and communication within large teams is often ignored. This causes poor estimation.

* If a project is delayed - rescheduling or reducing scope is recommended. Adding manpower will result in further de
...more
Bob Elwell
Jan 28, 2016 Bob Elwell rated it it was ok
I had a really good polemic about how this book was as outdated as the Old Testament but I decided it was probably too offensive to post in its entirety.

The modern world has Git, wikis, the Internet, refrigerators, hand sanitizer, and a bunch of other shit that makes both of these texts more an oral history from a fallible human's perspective and not an edict on how you should live your life or do software engineering.
Hampus Wessman
Some parts are clearly outdated, but it contains a lot of wisdom and I think it's still well worth reading. Even the more dated sections are at times both fun to read and interesting to compare to today's situation. A lot has happened since then, especially when it comes to computer hardware but also e.g. agile software development and similar. At the same time, many of the things that are discussed in the book remain surprisingly accurate in today's software world too. Many of these same issues ...more
Senthil Kumaran
May 23, 2012 Senthil Kumaran rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computer-science
This is a master piece of software engineering. Many people have read this one because this one is an extremely approachable account. When I read this book in 2007, I felt how much of value this one book brought which was written more than 20 years ago brought even then. Since then, I have heard many people talk and swear by this book. I have one gripe against the readers and people who talk about this. They use this book to support their stances and most often these people do not possess the ki ...more
Tiago
Jan 02, 2009 Tiago rated it it was amazing
I have read it as part of my PhD, since it's part of the classical books of software engineering. Yet the book tackles very important issues not only about management but how people interact during software development. I've recognised myself in many situations described by the author (even that I'm not part of a software development team).
One might wonder, as I did, how many of the concepts explained by the author apply to current technology of the 21st century, but the author tackles that in t
...more
Nick Black
I give it three stars, but it probably deserves four -- several of the maxims herein have percolated into the wider community, and were known to me well before I first came across this. Brooks, by the way, has written more than this rather soft title -- his report on the IBM 360, for instance, is the first paper in Readings in Computer Architecture.
Jesper Balslev
Jun 01, 2015 Jesper Balslev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: digital-kultur
Damn, håber den er fast pensum på landets IT-projektlederuddannelser.
Hattivat
Mar 30, 2016 Hattivat rated it liked it
Shelves: cs
I am not even a software developer yet, but rather just a person aspiring to become one in near future, so I cannot really opine on the accuracy of this book's advice on project management, other than note that some of it is still considered very relevant, while other parts are obviously outdated.

What I can say is that as a person interested in the history of cold war technology in general and early computing in particular, I have greatly enjoyed this book as a historical document, a relatively
...more
Muhammad Khan
This is a brief review on the 20th Anniversary (1995 edition) of the original 1975 edition, a collection of essays by Frederick Brooks, the most popular of all essays being "The Mythical Man Month" features as the book's title. The 1995 edition preserved the original book chapters from 1975 and expanded on a few topics by commenting anecdotally on the progress made in the ensuing 20 years, reviewing the original assertions and commentating on responses thereof.

Although it's 2010, 35 years on sin
...more
Matt Diephouse
Dec 29, 2015 Matt Diephouse rated it liked it
I'm really surprised that people still recommend this book. It's primarily concerned with very large scale software projects (i.e., an operating system), much of the "data" is anecdotal, and many of the assumptions are simply outdated. For instance, Brooks writes about (1) creating paper manuals with documentation about the system that get updated daily for the engineers, (2) strategies for time-allocation on centralized computers, and (3) about optimizing for compiled code size. Those simply ar ...more
Narendran Thangarajan
Dec 25, 2014 Narendran Thangarajan rated it it was amazing
I had underestimated the applicability of the ideas presented in the book since it was originally published in 1975. Dr. Brooks presents a set of essays on software engineering based on his experiences and the lessons he had learnt while developing the System/360 and OS/360 for IBM in the early 1960's. It is interesting to note that the technical and managerial challenges he faced back then are still very relevant despite the exponential improvement in the technical tools we employ to solve thes ...more
Nathan Glenn
Jun 01, 2014 Nathan Glenn rated it really liked it
I probably should re-read this when I have more experience working on software teams. Right now, I don't have much of a basis to apply the content to.
The author describes the lessons he learned working on an operating system in the 1960's, and the problems of organizing a thousand engineers to deliver software on time and maintain it afterward remain relevant. The most well-known insight is that large teams take longer to complete software because of the increased need for constant communicatio
...more
Zeh Fernando
Aug 16, 2015 Zeh Fernando rated it liked it
Good essence with many interesting lessons that still hold true. However, I fell most of it is only interesting from an historical perspective as so much has changed in the field.
Kevin Arne
Jul 20, 2015 Kevin Arne rated it liked it
I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but was certainly surprised when I found out that it was a book on managing software development teams.

Close to half of the book is jargon rich and not very applicable (at least prima facie) to a broader array of topics, but the other half is full of gems that could be used in a variety of fields. Mythical lends itself to skipping chapters, which I recommend you do unless you are really into programming history.

Here are the chapters I recommend reading: The My
...more
Enrique Mañas
Jun 13, 2015 Enrique Mañas rated it it was ok
I could not read all the content of this book.

Most of it is very outdated. One of the central examples used throughout the book is OS/360, a computer that only a bunch of people will recognize. There are continuos examples of really outdated technologies, languages and procedures that will knock out even the most avid reader. Even some organisational structures proposed are nowadays outdated

There a are a few hidden gems inside the book, and one can recognize why this book was important in 1975,
...more
Matthew Talbert
Nov 05, 2015 Matthew Talbert rated it really liked it
The incredible thing about this book is that it was written in the 70's and still has many valuable things to offer. Probably the most important thought is complexity is what software is about, and complexity is the barrier to creating more complex systems. This inevitably means that only advances in understanding and managing complexity will get us real results in improving software.
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“A baseball manager recognizes a nonphysical talent, hustle, as an essential gift of great players and great teams. It is the characteristic of running faster than necessary, moving sooner than necessary, trying harder than necessary. It is essential for great programming teams, too.” 5 likes
“As time passes, the system becomes less and less well-ordered. Sooner or later the fixing cease to gain any ground. Each forward step is matched by a backward one. Although in principle usable forever, the system has worn out as a base for progress. ...A brand-new, from-the-ground-up redesign is necessary.” 4 likes
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