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About Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., is Kenan Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an architect of the IBM Stretch and Harvest computers. He was Corporate Project Manager for the System/360, including development of the System/360 computer family hardware and the decision to switch computer byte size from 6 to 8 bits. He then managed the initial development of the Operating System/360 software suite: operating system, 16 compilers, communications, and utilities.
He founded the UNC Department of Computer Science in 1964 and chaired it for 20 years. His research there has been in computer architecture, software engineering, and interactive 3-D computer graphics (protein visualization graphics and "virtual reality"). His best-known books are The Mythical Man-Month (1975, 1995); Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution (with G.A. Blaauw, 1997); and The Design of Design (2010).
Dr. Brooks has received the National Medal of Technology, the A.M. Turing award of the ACM, the Bower Award and Prize of the Franklin Institute, the John von Neumann Medal of the IEEE, and others. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering (U.K.) and of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He became a Christian at age 31 and has taught an adult Sunday school class for 35 years. He chaired the Executive Committee for the 1973 Research Triangle Billy Graham Crusade. He and Mrs. Nancy Greenwood Brooks are faculty advisors to a graduate student chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. They have three children and nine grandchildren.
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Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.
The added chapters contain (1) a crisp condensation of all the propositions asserted in the original book, including Brooks' central argument in The Mythical Man-Month: that large programming projects suffer management problems different from small ones due to the division of labor; that the conceptual integrity of the product is therefore critical; and that it is difficult but possible to achieve this unity; (2) Brooks' view of these propositions a generation later; (3) a reprint of his classic 1986 paper "No Silver Bullet"; and (4) today's thoughts on the 1986 assertion, "There will be no silver bullet within ten years."
Making Sense of Design
Effective design is at the heart of everything from software development to engineering to architecture. But what do we really know about the design process? What leads to effective, elegant designs? The Design of Design addresses these questions.
These new essays by Fred Brooks contain extraordinary insights for designers in every discipline. Brooks pinpoints constants inherent in all design projects and uncovers processes and patterns likely to lead to excellence. Drawing on conversations with dozens of exceptional designers, as well as his own experiences in several design domains, Brooks observes that bold design decisions lead to better outcomes.
The author tracks the evolution of the design process, treats collaborative and distributed design, and illuminates what makes a truly great designer. He examines the nuts and bolts of design processes, including budget constraints of many kinds, aesthetics, design empiricism, and tools, and grounds this discussion in his own real-world examples—case studies ranging from home construction to IBM’s Operating System/360. Throughout, Brooks reveals keys to success that every designer, design project manager, and design researcher should know.