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Modern Operating Systems by Herbert Bos and Andrew...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Modern Operating Systems by Herbert...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Page 1051
CHAP. 12
their desire to put their stamp on the project to carry out the initial architect’s
plans. The result is an architectural coherence unmatched in other European cathe-
In the 1970s, Harlan Mills combined the observation that some programmers
are much better than others with the need for architectural coherence to propose
chief programmer team
paradigm (Baker, 1972). His idea was to organize a
programming team like a surgical team rather than like a hog-butchering team. In-
stead of everyone hacking away like mad, one person wields the scalpel.
else is there to provide support. For a 10-person project, Mills suggested the team
structure of Fig. 12-10.
Chief programmer
Performs the architectural design and writes the code
Helps the chief programmer and serves as a sounding board
Manages the people, budget, space, equipment, reporting, etc.
Edits the documentation, which must be written by the chief programmer
The administrator and editor each need a secretary
Program clerk
Maintains the code and documentation archives
Provides any tools the chief programmer needs
Tests the chief programmer’s code
Language lawyer
Part timer who can advise the chief programmer on the language
Figure 12-10.
Mills’ proposal for populating
a 10-person chief programmer
Three decades have gone by since this was proposed and put into production.
Some things have changed (such as the need for a language lawyer—C is simpler
than PL/I), but the need to have only one mind controlling the design is still true.
And that one mind should be able to work 100% on designing and programming,
hence the need for the support staff, although with help from the computer, a smal-
ler staff will suffice now. But in its essence, the idea is still valid.
Any large project needs to be organized as a hierarchy. At the bottom level are
many small teams, each headed by a chief programmer.
At the next level, groups
of teams must be coordinated by a manager. Experience shows that each person
you manage costs you 10% of your time, so a full-time manager is needed for each
group of 10 teams. These managers must be managed, and so on.
Brooks observed that bad news does not travel up the tree well. Jerry Saltzer of
M.I.T. called this effect the
bad-news diode
No chief programmer or his manager
wants to tell the big boss that the project is 4 months late and has no chance what-
soever of meeting the deadline because there is a 2000-year-old tradition of be-
heading the messenger who brings bad news. As a consequence, top management
is generally in the dark about the state of the project. When it becomes undeniably
obvious that the deadline cannot be met under any conditions, top management
panics and responds by adding people, at which time Brooks’ Law kicks in.

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