Are Programming 'Laws' Valid?

Wednesday Feb 19th 2014 by Developer.com Staff
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A software engineering expert examines whether data supports popular maxims.

Does conventional wisdom about programming accurately reflect what happens in the real world? In a new piece for Dr. Dobb's, software engineering expert Capers Jones examines some of the maxims that are often repeated among developers to see whether data supports them. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Boehm's Second Law: Prototyping significantly reduces requirements and design errors, especially for user errors. True if the prototype is 10 percent the size of the planned system.
  • Brooks' Law: Adding people to a late software project makes it later. Mostly true.
  • Wirth's Law: Software performance gets slower faster than hardware speed gets faster. Not true.
  • Yannis' Law: Programming productivity doubles every six years. Partially true.

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