CS130 -- Software Development
Fall, 2004
Reading and Analysis 5

By now, you should have read Chapter 16, "No Silver Bullet", and Chapter 17, "No Silver Bullet Refired" from Brooks's text.  As you saw, these chapters describe Brooks's outlook on the software-development enterprise and the prospects for radical advances in the discipline.  You will also have noted that Brooks is quite pessimistic.  His argument hinges on a distinction between characteristics of the development enterprise that he identifies as either accidental or essential. 

In your analysis, I want you to consider the extent to which the essence and accident distinction supports Brooks's position.  Take at least three characteristics that Brooks discusses (at least one from both essence and accident) and reflect on the adequacy of Brooks's treatment.  Are there problems with claims?  Could claims be strengthened or better supported?  Finally, focusing on "Refired", reflect on Brooks's perspective after 20 years.  Has he missed anything important that would invalidate his primary claim, or is there anything on the horizon that would do so?  Your position must be fully established and supported on the basis of claims made in the paper and your reasoning about those.

Refer to the general comments on these assignments for reminders on what is expected.  However, for this reading analysis, you are limited to a maximum of two (2) pages.