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Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  584 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A lot of what software engineers ought to know about building software is, for whatever reason, not known (forgotten, neglected, never considered, etc.). This book is a collection of fifty-five facts that software engineers should always consider. The facts are fundamental. The facts are frequently forgotten. And above all, the facts are important to the success of a proje ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 28th 2002 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published October 1st 2002)
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Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-books
There are two main lessons I gleaned from this book. The first is that the easiest way to produce successful software is to hire the best software developers you can acquire. Based on several studies listed in the book, the best developers are up to 30 times more productive than the worst developers. This make procuring quality developers the most effective decision in managing a software project. The second important lesson is the benefit of code being looked at by multiple people. This is not ...more
Karl Becker
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I did more skimming of this book than focused reading. Still, I think it had some good lessons to take away, and can have its main points be digested rather quickly.

How I read it was I read the author's introduction, which discusses his methodology of putting together this book, and then went through each of the facts and fallacies listed by the author and thought about how that may or may not apply to my software development team. I took notes on each one that I thought would
Henrik Warne
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have read a fair number of software engineering books, and this is one of the more enjoyable books that I have read. When I first heard about it, I thought the concept of a sort of summary of the state of the art sounded really interesting. Although I haven't read any of the author's previous books, I have read and enjoyed his columns in IEEE Software and Communications of the ACM, so I had high hopes about this book. And I wasn't disappointed.

Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering is div
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gets 4 stars for being pleasant to read, well-structured, and efficiently impactful. I would have liked to see more studies supporting the facts and fallacies. A more accurate title for this book might be “55 Opinions and Fallacies Which are Probably Mostly Supported by Evidence”. Since Glass has a ton of industry experience, academic experience, and he’s written 25+ books it’s probably safe to accept his opinions for facts. He is very aware that some facts and fallacies will be contro ...more
Giacomo Debidda
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This books contains 55 facts and a few fallacies about management, software life cycle, quality and research. It's an old book, but most of its content is still relevant today (and most likely it will be in the future).

Here are the facts that I liked the most:

- Fact 1: tools and techniques matter much less than the quality of the individual software developers.
- Fact 2: good programmers are ~30x better than the bad programmers.
- Fact 5: even when new tools & techniques are good, they hardly intr
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
Ok, Robert L. Glass is the Nassim Taleb of Software Engineering. Arrogant, confident, hate towards academicians, extremely smart and savvy in his field, not humble at all. (You can see Fallacy 9 as an example).

Besides his arrogance throughout the book and the facts/fallacies I strongly disagreed with (especially the last fallacy, one has to be CLUELESSLY STUPID to think that reading code is a better way of learning than writing code), what bothered me the most was that Glass made way too many st
I liked some of the facts and their presentation but most is just a repetition of the author's previous work. I give him credit for all the work he has done! It's a great legacy.
Just this type of a recipe book with a general attitude 'that's how this is, learn from me' does not resonate well with me. Some facts I liked and the references are helpful, if I need to look up a specific number.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was a fantastic book.
A great summary of real world software engineering principles, form a practitioner's approach.
It rebuts many long-time myths of software engineering, and makes emphasis practices that really work (facts).
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Clearly written, contains some information never read elsewhere. I appreciated the Fact/Discussion/Controversy structure. It may be worth to check all the books mentioned in the "References" sections.
Calvin Lee
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is somewhat old. I do not agree with every fact discussed in this book. decent reads.

Full review:
Kálmán Kéménczy
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Collection of evergreen information.
Adriano Carvalho
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In many cases it is hard to accept that some things which seem automatable to us won't be in the near future. Everyone in the field should read this.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid book. The 65 points he mentioned are worthwhile enough for me to add to my Anki.
Benjamin Cronce
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Opinions, reasons, and anti-opinions from a highly respected software engineer.
Maximum Peaches
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book. Good to re-read from time to time. Most of the conclusions I've internalized at this point, except the part about deadlines, and that was good to go over again.
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Counter intuitive truths about software engineering and software development activities. Full of wiseness and immutable lessons to learn.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
55 'facts' and 10 'fallacies' on the practice of software engineering: from managing, to planning, to programming etc. The structure is always the same, first the fact in one or two sentences, then one or two pages discussing the fact, then a page of the controversy (criticisms, or opponents of the 'fact'), then some sources. As such, the book is quick reading, you can read one or two 'facts' on the bus.

Of course, the author's opinions shine through - he really doesn't like vendor salespeople (t
Evan Wondrasek
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
What I liked: The author has decades of personal experience in software development, and the wisdom he's gathered over the years is absolutely apparent. This book was littered with valuable anecdotal gems that all software developers should hear.

What I didn't like: So much of this book was anecdotal. Don't get me wrong, I'm can appreciate anecdotes from a wise individual, but it's hard for me to accept "facts", especially with specific numbers attached to them, with nothing but anecdotal evidenc
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
The facts and fallacies presented in this book are very interesting in the sense that we are aware of many of them and no one does anything about it.

I really liked how the author focus a lot on maintenance; something that programmers spent most of their time doing, but very few realize of its difficulties and time-span.

One thing that bugs me is related to the book references for some of the facts/fallacies. Most of them have really good resources (from NASA for example); however, many other re
Khánh Nguyễn Hoàng Việt
Some facts I used to be believe become fallacies in the author point of view.
Some of author's opinions agreed with mine.
This book is good for introducing to the Software Engineering field.
The maintainance part is one of the best I think.
Cause he pointed out many of the problems when running a maintainance project.
His definition about quality really impressed me.
Quality should be measured base on multiple perspective instead of Customer satisfaction + On Schedule and on Budget. They are some (
Marcin Malinowski
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book can really get on your nerves. Author seems too self-confident, as resources he points mainly his own works, material may look outdated here and there, I don't think he gets XP...

But don't be fooled! There is a lot of good stuff in it. Especially about the maintenance (I fully agree with author that it's very neglected subject) e.g. "Fact 46: Maintenance is solution, not a problem". The more maintenance you have, the more successful is your product. WAT!? Stop and think about it. Most
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book is kind of motherhood and apple pie for software engineers and provides the engineer's perspective on why software projects fail. Nobody has really figured out how to make good software on time and on budget. This book just brings some reality to the picture that the hucksters with the latest fad - CASE! Agile!, ... - still don't have all the answers.
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
A lot of interesting stuff in this book. I was surprised to find that so much of what seems like current material has been around for so long.
I found this book referenced in Code Complete as a good intro book to software engineering, I would agree with that assessment. This book makes for a good complement to Clean Coder, in particular the "facts" regarding maintenance.
Andreea Lucau
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting, a little bit from a different "age" (just 12 years ago seems so far away).
Some of the facts surprised me, but most of them are just things you kind of feel. One of the most surprising ones for me was one related to cause of errors: most of the errors are due to omission and case that were just not cover in the code.
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A good collection explaining best practices in the field of software development. If you've been in the field for a while, you'll have already figured a lot of this stuf out, but it's good to see it collected in one place.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok

If you want a good read on evidence based software development, go to Making Software instead. I don't really rate the rigour in the choice of sources (quotes his own studies here and there), nor necessarily draw the same conclusions.
Robert Chapman
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: software
Although published in 2002, this is still one of the best books I have read about the software industry. ALmost 10 years later the facts in this book still ring true today. This is a must read for everyone from coder to executive.
Oct 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
I did not really enjoy reading this book. It felt very idiosyncratic on the side of the author: most references in the book are actually self-references, and for a book written in 2003, it feels really dated. I would not recommend this book.
Jan 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: software, development
Jewel of a book and a great source for quotes to use with your management.
Alex Allain
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is depressing; it's too easy to see your own mistakes in it. Of course, that's very valuable.

This is more philosophy than actionable information.
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