TMMM: The tar pit

This is one of those books I have heard people quote or recommend me many times. First publised in 1975 it’s almost 50 years old. The world was a different place back then so is it still worth a read with the appropriate contextual adjustments in mind?

I’ve just finished the first chapter; I was concerned this was going to be a bit of an archaeological dig but so far it’s been more of a fun time capsule.

It starts with the author posits a little observation in which the author launches into a description of how enterprise software differs from smaller applications; more complexity due to generalised domain, well defined interfaces etc. So need bigger teams.

One occasionally reads newspaper accounts of how two programmers in a remodeled garage have built an important program that surpasses the best efforts of large teams… Why then have not all industrial programming teams be replaced by dedicated garage duos?

– Federick P. Brooks, JR

I found it interesting because of the parallels it draws with the origin stories of companies such as HP, Microsoft, Amazon, Google or Apple which were all founded in a garage. The whole founded in a garage situation comes across as cliché today and is a somewhat romanticised aspect crucial to any good founding mythology. I hope spurring discussion with a dubious anecdote isn’t a harbinger of what’s in store.

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