brooks's law

Computing Dictionary

Brooks's Law definition

programming
"Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" - a result of the fact that the expected advantage from splitting work among N programmers is O(N) (that is, proportional to N), but the complexity and communications cost associated with coordinating and then merging their work is O(N^2) (that is, proportional to the square of N).
The quote is from Fred Brooks, a manager of IBM's OS/360 project and author of "The Mythical Man-Month".
The myth in question has been most tersely expressed as "Programmer time is fungible" and Brooks established conclusively that it is not. Hackers have never forgotten his advice; too often, management still does.
See also creationism, second-system effect, optimism.
[Jargon File]
(1996-09-17)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: brooks robinson
Next Definition: brooks, maria gowen
Words Near: Brooks's Law
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for Brooks's Law
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing Brooks's Law
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature