Mythical Man Month

I finished re-reading the Mythical Man Month today. It was a good read, and, just as when I read it just after the 20th anniversary edition came out, still very relevant to software development today. I found Brooks’ enthusiasm and attitude to be quite compelling; it’s so obvious that he loves his work. This quote from the epilogue sums it up and reminds me not to be so grouchy; “To only a fraction of the human race does God give the privilege of earning one’s bread doing what one would have gladly pursued free, for passion.

More than 20 years on and still as much to say

I’m currently re-reading The Mythical Man Month 20th Aniversay Edition and I’ve just finished watching Apocolypse Now Redux. Both seem to have as much to say now about their respective subjects as they did in the day. Brooks’ treatment of the “Joys” and “Woes” of The Craft as poignant as Coppola’s tale of the lies and horror of war.

Currently reading

Agile Software Development - Principles, Patterns, and Practices by Robert C. Martin This book is physically heavier than most of the books I’ve been reading lately but I’m still carrying it to work even though I only get around 5 mins reading done on the tube during the journey. It’s a beautiful book; the typeface and illustractions are stunning, the paper feels rich, the cover is cool and colourful. The content is pretty good too.

Waltzing with Bears

Finally finished reading Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects and it was well worth the read. Waltzing with Bears is a book about managing project risk. It’s a slim volume, but packed with useful information. As usual, DeMarco and Lister present the topic in an approachable and readable way. The text is full of anecdotes that flesh out the theories with practical examples. In a nut shell; most project managers on software projects fail to adequately manage risk.

Test-Driven Development (By Example) - Kent Beck

Kent Beck demonstrates the testing side of XP by separating it out into its own simple methodology. Test-Driven Development is exactly what it says it is. The entire design and development effort is driven by the tests that you write and you’re encouraged to write those tests first… Parts one and two contain worked examples of Test-Driven Development. Some will probably say that they’re too simple, but I’ve found that even the most complex domain usually ends up as relatively simple code if you develop in this way.

Slack - Tom DeMarco

I’ve always been a fan of DeMarco’s work. I tend to nod my head and agree as I read, and wish that all the software development managers that I work with would read his books. Slack is an excellent analysis of the problems plaguing large corporations’ software development efforts. The book starts off looking at how and when knowledge work gets done; the myth of the fungible resource, and how the drive for efficiency in many corporations leads to everyone being so busy that they have no time for anything but the task at hand.

Currently reading...

Updated: 23-May-2003 Questioning Extreme Programming by Pete McBreen A useful analysis of the claims that the XP community makes and comparisons between the XP way and other Agile Methodologies. I’m currently about half way through and so far it seems like good stuff. It helps you understand what you can expect to gain from XP and if XP is the right thing for you. Often it wont be, but you may be able to learn something from it or use some aspect in your project anyway.