Some books about software engineering are timeless classics. Among them, written as early as 1975 and still unbelievably relevant, is “The Mythical Man-Month” by Fred Brooks.
Among others, it is the origin of Brooks’s law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later – which, I guess, every serious practitioner of software engineering has already experienced.
From this book, I understood that it is a misconception that, in order to understand software engineering, it is enough to understand software. In order to master software engineering, you not only need to understand the software, you need to understand people, too.
That’s why, after more than 40 years, the book is still relevant: there’s quite some technology in the book, and those parts are of course pretty outdated. But at it’s heart, like Shakespeare or the bible or Homer, it is a book about human nature.
If we, as a team, want to understand a problem so well that we can teach even a computer how to solve it (the source of this quote will be discussed in a future post), we need to deal with human nature, and the better we understand human nature, the better we can deal with it.