Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Producer and the Technical Director

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. is the author of The Mythical Man-Month (1995). Brooks is Kenan Professor of Computer Scienc at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is best known as the "father of the IBM System/360," having served as project manager for its development and later as manager of the Operating System/360 software project during its design phase. Dr. Brooks, according to Wired magazine is writing a new book entitled Design of Design.

Brooks writes the following in The Mythical Man-Month:

The producer and the technical director may be the same man. This is readily workable on very small teams, perhaps three to six programmers. On larger projects it is very rarely workable, for two reasons. First, the man with strong management talent and strong technical talent is rarely found. Thinkers are rare; doers are rarer; and thinker-doers are rarest.

Second, on the larger project each of the roles is necessarily a full-time job, or more. It is hard for the producer to delegate enough of his duties to give him any technical time. It is impossible for the director to delegate his without compromising the conceptual integrity of the design.

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