Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Fred Brooks


Software engineer and computer scientist, best-known for managing the development of OS/360, then later writing candidly about the process in his seminal book The Mythical Man-Month.
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Fred Brooks
Brooks's Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Brooks quotes
Some people have called the book the "bible of software engineering". I would agree with that in one respect: that is, everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it.
Brooks
How does a project get to be a year late? … One day at a time.




Brooks Fred quotes
The management question, therefore, is not whether to build a pilot system and throw it away. You will do that. […] Hence plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.
Brooks Fred
Job Control Language is the worst programming language ever designed anywhere by anybody for any purpose.
Fred Brooks quotes
The programmer's primary weapon in the never-ending battle against slow system is to change the intramodular structure. Our first response should be to reorganize the modules' data structures.
Fred Brooks
Study after study shows that the very best designers produce structures that are faster, smaller, simpler, clearer, and produced with less effort. The differences between the great and the average approach an order of magnitude.
Brooks Fred quotes
Einstein repeatedly argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer. Much of the complexity he must master is arbitrary complexity […] because they were designed by different people, rather than by God.
Brooks
…well over half of the time you spend working on a project (on the order of 70 percent) is spent thinking, and no tool, no matter how advanced, can think for you. Consequently, even if a tool did everything except the thinking for you – if it wrote 100 percent of the code, wrote 100 percent of the documentation, did 100 percent of the testing, burned the CD-ROMs, put them in boxes, and mailed them to your customers – the best you could hope for would be a 30 percent improvement in productivity. In order to do better than that, you have to change the way you think.
Brooks Fred
…the organization chart will initially reflect the first system design, which is almost surely not the right one […] as one learns, he changes the design […]. Management structures also need to be changed as the system changes…
Fred Brooks
The essence of a software entity is a construct of interlocking concepts: […] I believe the hard part of building software to be the specification, design, and testing of this conceptual construct, not the labor of representing it and testing the fidelity of the representation.




Fred Brooks quotes
Show me your flowcharts and conceal your tables, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your tables, and I won’t usually need your flowcharts; they’ll be obvious.
Fred Brooks
The complexity of software is an essential property, not an accidental one. Hence, descriptions of a software entity that abstract away its complexity often abstracts away its essence.
Brooks quotes
The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures....
Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. […] The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be.
Brooks Fred
The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned.
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