Monitoring and Controlling Risky Projects
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
—FRED BROOKS, AUTHOR OF THE MYTHICAL MAN-MONTH
Apart from phrasing (the very 1970s “manpower” would be replaced by the more politically correct “people” or “staff”), it’s hard to quibble with Fred Brooks’s statement. In fact, the effect described by Brooks applies to projects of almost any type, not just software projects. Adding contributors to a late project never seems to help very much because the first thing that new people on a project need is information, so they ask blizzards of questions. These questions are directed to the overworked people already on the project, further slowing their progress. There are other reasons that ...