The Mythical Man-Month

I expect everyone (well, almost everyone) involved in some way in software engineering has heard of this book. I decided that it was time to finally read it, largely prompted by this excellent blog post by apenwarr which discusses second systems effect among other things. Now, you can buy this book for a surprisingly large amount of money, but as Michael Carden pointed out, the PDF is also made available for free by the Internet Archive. I’d recommend going that route.

The book is composed of a series of essays, which discuss the trials of the OS/360 team in the mid-1960s, and uses those experiences to attempt to form a series of more general observations on the art of software development and systems engineering.

Continue reading “The Mythical Man-Month”

The Mythical Man-month Book Cover The Mythical Man-month
Frederick Phillips Brooks, Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.,
Computer programming
Reading, Mass. ; Don Mills, Ont. : Addison-Wesley Publishing Company

Is it good when the directors of your former employer start suing each other?

I’ve been trying very hard to not comment on the takeover attempt under way at my former employer, TOWER software. It’s getting kind of hard when the directors start suing each other in court and the case is reported. I guess this sort of behaviour explains why TOWER is still a 20 year old startup.

Bias note: I am a former employee of TOWER Software. I have previously stated that I hold shares in TOWER, and feel no ill feelings over my departure from TOWER. However, this childish behaviour and the low probability of the shares appreciating in value in the foreseeable future (the share price has been stagnant for four years) has prompted me to accept the takeover offer, and I will soon hold no more shares (I hope).

Non-budget funded work

Simon sounds like he needs a mental health day. Back when I was in the Australian public service we used to have the concept of “non-budget funded work” in my team… This meant a day doing something work related, but not currently on the Gantt chart — like playing in a new language, or exploring something we might one day use. It seems like a similar concept to Google’s 20% time.

Simon — perhaps it’s time to find a non-budget funded project?