The Mythical Man-Month

The Mythical Man-MonthFrederick Brooks wrote this classical book already back in 1975 and added a few extra chapters for the twenty years anniversary 1995…

Large portions of it feels of the age and there’s a lot of talk about Fortran, System/360 and PL-1 as if we should know about them (which made me fast forward over some chapters). But there are gems as well, and the most significant things people seem to remember Brooks’ book for are still pretty valid and fine.

Adding more people to a project leads to the need for more communication and thus it may slow down development rather than speed it up. Also known as Brooks’s law.

Given the complexity of software and software development, there’s no single method or concept that will lead to an improvement by an order of magnitude – within a decade. There’s No Silver Bullet. (This section was not in the original edition of the book.)

The risks involved when rewriting something and wants to fix everything that was wrong in the previous version so you over-work and over-design the successor. The so called Second system effect.

A lot of the book is spent on thoughts and theories around how to manage really really large software projects, like when you involve thousands of persons. Is it even possible to make such huge projects successful and if so, what does it take? The extra chapters do indeed add value since they offered Brooks a chance to re-evaluate his earlier claims and ideas and to check what seemed to be truths and what mistakes he did in the original edition.

A very interesting read that I’m glad I finally got time to get through!

A thankful Rockbox user

I just wanted to share with you some very friendly and encouraging words I received in a mail from an individual that shall remain unidentified. It is actually rather unusual to get this kind of cheerful words as people who get things and enjoy them rarely get back, but instead we hear more from the ones who get problems or are otherwise unhappy. sansa e200R - looks almost like a e200 v2

“From someone not nearly so gifted and talented, thanks for your efforts to develop Rockbox on the Sansa e200 v2.
Your efforts are deeply appreciated by many, and I’m glad that there is someone as clever and kind as you working on this project in your spare time (which I’m sure is precious to you.)
Work on the project when you can, but don’t deprive your family of your time and presence – they are your most important treasure. I’m just a private individual, and I know this little expression of thanks doesn’t mean much, but here it is, just the same. All the very best wishes to you and your family for Christmas and the coming new year!”

Thanks a lot. (linkified by me)