My friend Hernán Wilkinson sent me a link to a blog post that included a reference to a very interesting article by Tom DeMarco. Just as a reference, De Marco is one of the classic authors in Software Engineering. When I studied systems analysis more than 20 years ago, his book on Structured Design was like a Bible.
I agree with almost everything he says there, but still I think that he takes it too hard against his own work, and I want to relate this to my previous post, because what he proposed in “Controlling Software Projects” is something that even in 1982 didn’t work in all software development projects, although from what he says it looks like he didn’t realize that at that time. But the key is that they worked in many software projects: in the types of projects that DeMarco was involved in then. So, probably his mistake was not to mention in what types of software development projects the techniques he was proposing had proved to be effective or were important in relation to what they were trying to achieve. Also, it’s easy to say now that some things proposed 27 years ago are not true anymore. Just as an example, “The Mythical Man Month“, Brook’s classic essays book that is a must for any software professional, has many things that are plain wrong if tried to applied nowadays, as Brooks himself recognized when he said “Parnas was right, I was wrong”.