15. The other face

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

Documentation is needed.

Others need to understand what our application is, what it does how it does it, how it behaves. The application code, as well, needs to be understood, not only by the machine but also by the next developer reading it.

We need to document all the way from a faraway view of the system to a detailed view of the system.

Then the question is: What and how to document?
Continue reading “15. The other face”

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14. Hatching a catastrophe

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

Plenty of projects, if not the vast majority, end up getting delayed… Some more than twice the initial estimated time and cost. This happened up until 1986, when the book was published, but it still happens today. I feel it is, sadly, very common.

But how does this happen?

How can we prevent it?
Continue reading “14. Hatching a catastrophe”

13. The whole and the parts

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

Curiously enough, Brooks starts this chapter by mentioning something I say every once in a while:

The challenge is not simply to build something that “works”. It is to build something that really works in the way the end user needs it to work, with conceptual consistency, minimal technical bugs, and that can be maintained and extended throughout a long life.
Continue reading “13. The whole and the parts”

12. Sharp tools

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

The work quality and efficiency of a crafter depends a lot on the tools at hand.

In this chapter, Brooks makes a case for this statement validity for software developers as well and gives a list of essential tools needed for software development.
Continue reading “12. Sharp tools”

11. Plan to Throw One Away

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

Experience tells Frederick P. Brooks that the first system built is always barely usable. So many years after the book was published, that is also my experience: I never worked in a company that didn’t have at least one previous version of their software that was completely thrown away! Continue reading “11. Plan to Throw One Away”

10. The Documentary Hypothesis

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

Why should we have formal documents? Continue reading “10. The Documentary Hypothesis”

9. Ten Pounds in a Five-Pound Sack

This post is part of a series of posts with my personal notes about the chapters in the book “The mythical man-month” by Frederick P. Brooks. I write these posts as I read through the book, and take notes on the concepts I find more relevant. I do, however, advise reading the book to get the full benefit out of it.

In this chapter, Frederick P. Brooks, tells us about performance requirements. Of course, the context was different, so the examples and terminology need some translation to today’s context… Continue reading “9. Ten Pounds in a Five-Pound Sack”