Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Monday, July 20, 2020

Episode 11: The Monocle Math-Myth

In this episode I talk about The Mythical Man-Month and Brooks’s Law, even though I intended to talk about No Silver Bullet by the same author. Next time. Maybe.

Exploratory experimental studies comparing online and offline programming performance, a.k.a. the source of the “10x programmer” myth.

Leprechauns of Software Engineering, a book by Laurent Bossavit debunking the 10x programmer myth (and other myths).

12 signs you’re working in a feature factory, a post about the kinds of software companies where “the business” is a separate society from “the engineering team”. Also check out the follow-up, 12 signs…3 years later.


I knew I would forget to add these to the show notes! I talked about the curve in the Mythical Man-Month essay being like a Laffer or Kuznets curve. These both posit that “if we do more of this” (taxing rich people) “we will get less of this” (tax revenue), with no evidence, and have been central to economic ideology for the decades since they were sketched onto napkins. So, I say, with the Brooks curve in software engineering.

posted by Graham at 22:07  

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