Fred Brooks (1931)


Brooks is a computer architect (computer architecture is a term he coined), software engineer, and computer scientist, who developed IBM’s System/360 family of computers and the OS/360 software support package.

Brooks later wrote about the process in his book The Mythical Man-Month.

Among the most famous conclusions the book made was: “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later” – this is known as ‘Brooks Law’.

What makes this book still extremely relevant, nearly 40 years later is it’s focus on human nature, which compared to technology never changes.

The book is considered the Bible of Software Engineering because “everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it.” It’s a reminder that in the software industry, we not only insist on re-inventing the wheel, but we insist on re-inventing the flat tire.

Funny Brooks quotes:

  • The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned. Many software tasks have this characteristic because of the sequential nature of debugging.
  • How does a project get to be a year late?… One day at a time.
  • Plan to throw one (implementation) away; you will, anyhow.

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