The Mythical Man-Month Reading Notes

  • the man-month is a fallacious and dangerous myth, for it implies than men and months are interchangeable
  • Brooks’s Law: adding manpower to a late project makes it later (effort is needed to repartition the work, train the new people, and more time is spent on intercommunication)
  • “Good cooking takes time” (Restaurant Antoine’s Chef)
  • discipline is good for art: providing an architecture enhances the creative style of an implementing group
  • the purpose of organization is to reduce the amount of communication and coordination necessary
  • “The programmer delivers satisfaction of a user need rather than any tangible product” (Cosgrove)
  • all repairs tend to destroy structure, to increase the entropy of a system
  • “How does one project get to be a year late? One day at a time”
  • the first step in controlling a project on a tight schedule is to have a schedule with concrete, measurable milestones. A programmer will rarely lie about a milestone if it’s so sharp he can’t deceive himself.
  • chronic schedule slippage is a morale-killer: “if you miss one deadline, make sure you make the next one” (Mac Carthy)
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