One Throw-Away Product – Or Refactoring

I have been speaking at many PMI chapter events in North Carolina this year. I enjoy doing these events, meeting new people, discussing different and new things, and sometimes, being introduced to cool old things.  One such event was the PMI Asheville Chapter where I met some really interesting people including Eric W.

Mythical Man Month

Mythical Man Month



Eric is a software person, he writes code and in our conversation at the meeting (the topic was risk and risk management) it became clear he is also one of those that have been around software development for years. Shortly after that meeting I received a package via amazon from Eric W, the book, The Mythical Man Month.  This book is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is it was written by a North Carolinian, or at least a professor at North Carolina University.

This is an old book, from the 1970’s and I am sorry to say, many of the issues or difficulties or things that go wrong with the general approach to software development are, well, not much different from those olden days.

Besides the observation of the typical failures, there is an interesting section of the book that explores the idea of one throw-away product from which we learn[1].  Upon reading this, I quickly though of the Agile concept of failing fast and learning from that failure, along with the concept of refactoring.

What I found interesting, or maybe a bit sad, is that this idea of disposable product iteration took years to even take hold.  Additionally, it seems like Agile is a recycle of the book to some degree, what was once referred to as build one to throw away, becomes refactoring.  There are many other similarities to agile in the book, and we will bring them in periodically into the blog.

Thank you Eric W for sending me this book. I am a voracious reader, and I cannot believe how long I have heard of this book, but had not read.


[1] Brooks, F. P. (2013). The mythical man-month essays on software engineering. Boston, MA: 115

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