Fred Brooks of Mythical Man Month fame is back and brings all of his insights together in one book. The short chapters in the book are refreshing and bring pointed insights gained from years of experience as both a software architect and a traditional building architect. Going into challenges such as remote teams and communicating the book approaches current issues facing many organizations.
I really enjoyed his discussion of using prototypes and iterations to achieve software success. He is a ‘dyed-wool empiricist’ meaning that in his view all people will make mistakes and it is impossible to write a perfect software program that addresses all user requirements and without bugs the first time. This is a refreshing view and relieves the pressure of the waterfall model where there are no iterations or going back to previous steps for refactoring the solution based on new information gathered while building the software. He mentions that in other fields the designer or architect often reworks the solution to take advantage of a constraint that has disappeared during the project. Often in the waterfall model there is no time to do this because the project team is living inside a time box where everyone is rushing to finish the deliverable to hand the ‘final’ version to the customer.
I am looking forward to incorporating more prototypes and iterative approaches in my next projects. Hopefully the customer will be happy and have the right expectations set before seeing the final product.