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Mythical Man-Month

Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
Have you ever read or heard about Mythical Man-Month?

Is it worth reading or is it obsolete for modern times?
[ November 04, 2007: Message edited by: Unnsse Khan ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Posted on our book reviews page


This book is a classic in the field of software engineering. I consider it a must read. I first read the book for MIT's 6.033 class, but have read it again twice since then. The book is an easy read, broken into a number of small chapters. Fred Brooks describes his experiences and lessons from working on the IBM 360 project.

The chapters themselves vary in usefulness. There are some timeless pieces, such as The Mythical Man-Month, The Second System Effect, and No Silver Bullet. Every engineer should understand these terms. Other topics can be a bit dated, but still teach some meta-ideas which can value even today.

Brooks cuts through the general technological optimism, as true today as it was then, and discusses the issues which really matter in software development. He focuses on the project-level issues which causes software efforts to fail.

If possible, get the 20th anniversary edition. It includes 4 more chapters, as well as a summary of points.


I'm not sure why I only gave it 7 horseshoes. I think it deserves at least 9. I only put one book ahead of it, Peopleware.

--Mark
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42022
    
  64
It's still relevant. Any professional should have no problems recognizing which lessons/topics are outdated, but they still make for interesting reading.


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Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
Ulf and Mark,

Thanks for the responses! How ironic is it that Mark was the one that actually reviewed this book, in the past!

Am going to buy both Peopleware and Mythical Man-Month!

There is a problem...

The link to the book reviews page that Mark provided crashes in Firefox 2.0.0.9 running on OS X Leopard. However, in Safari, it opens up fine!

I wonder what the problem is and hopefully others will click on that link while running Firefox (in order, to replicate the issue).

The reason I asked about the Mythical Man-Month to begin with is because I just got back from an interview from a large Fortune 100 company in Silicon Valley, last week. One of the managers specifically asked me if I had read it and told me great things about it.

A chief architect that I know, told me that his old university in England, assigns it to Computer Science 101 majors!

Will welcome anymore comments (I like seeing different people's opinions) about it and also any other recommended reading...
[ November 04, 2007: Message edited by: Unnsse Khan ]
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42022
    
  64
How ironic is it that Mark was the one that actually reviewed this book, in the past!

What's ironic about that?
The link to the book reviews page that Mark provided crashes in Firefox 2.0.0.9 running on OS X Leopard.

Works fine with FF 2.0.0.9 in OS X Tiger.
and also any other recommended reading...

"Deadline" by Tom DeMarco is a good one.
Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
How ironic is it that Mark was the one that actually reviewed this book, in the past!


What's ironic about that?



The irony was that fact that I e-mailed him directly, before this post, (without knowledge that he had actually read this book and even that he had reviewed it, personally).

He referred me to:

http://faq.javaranch.com/view?UseTheForumNotEmail

And it all made sense!

What does everyone else think about this book?

Is it worth recent times?

Peace out.
[ November 05, 2007: Message edited by: Unnsse Khan ]
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42022
    
  64
without knowledge that he had actually read this book and even that he had reviewed it

Another indication of how useful it is to search the forums before asking a question: SearchFirst
Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
I totally agree!
 
 
subject: Mythical Man-Month