Entries published on October 20, 2023
Bullets of vaguely silvery hue
There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even a single order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.
If “The Mythical Man-Month” — or at least the popular distillation of it into a single pithy saying — is the most famous thing the late Fred Brooks ever wrote, then “No Silver Bullet”, the essay quoted above, must surely be the most infamous, or perhaps the most-argued-about, even in the pre-Web era, since Brooks felt the need to write a followup (“‘No Silver Bullet’ Refired”) further explaining his points, and engaging with and arguing back against critics, before the decade of his initial prediction had even fully run out.
Which is a shame, because I think “No Silver Bullet” may have been the best thing Brooks ever wrote.
So I’d like to spend some time today laying out my own thoughts on …