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pinLetters: Software Project Management Classics?

Letters to the Editor + Overload Journal #61 - Jun 2004   Author: Ivan Uemlianin

Dear Mark,

Your Overload 60 editorial was very timely for me. An opensource software project on which I am involved is just getting going, and it is clear that good communication between participants is of paramount importance. I’m also rather unimpressed by the project management tomes that line the shelves of today’s bookshops. I have a question, arising from your editorial, that I’d be interested in pursuing via the ACCU, but I’m not sure which would be the best forum.

First some brief background: I’m an ex-academic, just over halfway through a career change into software development. I have only a little formal education in computer science and virtually none in project management.

Frederick Brooks’ book “The Mythical Man-Month” was one of the first project management books I read, and it still stands head and shoulders above the doorstops. Not only do I re-read Brooks, but many of his ideas have taken root in my head (I like to think); the doorstops are in general eminently forgettable. I completely agree with you on the waste exemplified in your story about your friends from Bucks: knowledge sent out to fallow, and new generations treading the same ground blindly. This kind of amnesia is surely unimaginable in any other field (not even pop music is so forgetful).

Is there a good list of ‘classics’ of software project management, like Brooks’ essays? If not, I’d be interested in doing a straw poll of ACCU members and keeping a tally linked from my homepage (

Yours sincerely
Ivan Uemlianin

Letters to the Editor + Overload Journal #61 - Jun 2004