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The Mythical Man-Month

Essays on Software Engineering

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

Publisher: Addison-Wesley, 1982 , 195 pages

ISBN: 0-201-00650-2

Keywords: Project Management


Toggle Synopsis

An eminent computer expert, Brooks has written a collection of thought-provoking essays on the management of computer programming projects. These essays draw from his own experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 and for OS/360, its operating system.

In the essays, the author blends facts on software engineering with his own personal opinions and the opinions of others involved in building complex computer systems. He not only gives the reader the benefit of the lessons he has learned from the OS/360 experience, but he writes about them in an extremely readable and entertaining way.

Although formulated as separate essays, the book expresses a central argument. Brooks believes that large programming projects suffer management problems different in kind from small ones due to the division of labor. For this reason he feels that the critical need is for conceptual integrity of the product itself, and in essay form he explores both the difficulties of achieving this unity and the methods for achieving it.

Table of Contents:

Toggle Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: The Tar Pit
  • Chapter 2: The Mythical Man-Month
  • Chapter 3: The Surgical Team
  • Chapter 4: Aristocracy, Democracy, and the System Design
  • Chapter 5: The Second-System Effect
  • Chapter 6: Passing the Word
  • Chapter 7: Why Did the Tower of Babel Fail?
  • Chapter 8: Calling the Shot
  • Chapter 9: Ten Pounds in a Five-Pound Sack
  • Chapter 10: The Documentary Hypothesis
  • Chapter 11: Plan to Throw One Away
  • Chapter 12: Sharp Tools
  • Chapter 13: The Whole and the Parts
  • Chapter 14: Hatching the Catastrophe
  • Chapter 15: The Other Face


The Mythical Man-Month

by Roland Buresund last modified 2007-09-05 16:00

Rating: ********** (Excellent)

A classic. This is mandatory reading for everyone.

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