Software Project Management

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Fortune interviews Frederick Brooks, who wrote “The Mythical Man-Month” 30 years ago. Quotes:

Fortune: So if a project is already late and throwing more people on it is just going to make it worse, how do you solve the problem?
Brooks: One is to officially slip the schedule. And officially doing it has many benefits over unofficially letting it slip. Peter Fagg, a really wise System/360 engineering manager, gave very sound advice: “Take no small slips.” That is, if you’re going to take a slip, get everybody onboard, get organized, and take a six-month slip, even though you may at the moment feel as if you’re only four months late. The other obvious solution is to lighten the ship: Decide there are some things we’re not going to do. A third thing is to phase the work: Say, “All right, we’re going to do a version that has just the essentials for the most important or most numerous users.” Meanwhile schedule and develop the things that should go in version 2 and ship them later.

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