My fellow undergrad tech support doofuses and I knew that Prof Brooks was a god and thus walked on eggshells when we were around him...which we quickly learned was totally unnecessary. He was incredibly friendly, gracious, and encouraging. A true Tar Heel.
Congrats to Prof Brooks.
As a UNC Computer Science graduate, I also had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Brooks on numerous occasions. He was truly a delight to be around and a casual observer would never guess that he was in fact an intellectual giant.
Knowing your limits is one thing, but understanding why/how they are being manipulated by outside forces (e.g. overestimating ability) is another. And how to counter those forces is also included in these pages.
Thank's for the sanity and well-managed project advice Fred!
It is excellent on what makes programming so great: http://henrikwarne.com/2012/06/02/why-i-love-coding/
“Here’s Fred Brooks, this giant. I mean — made IBM, adviser
to presidents, all this stuff. And this lady is looking for
directions, so he walks with her out to the street and down
the street to show her where she needs to go,” Bishop said.
These things may seem trivial, but he does them so often. Many of the students at UNC wouldn't even know what Dr. Brooks looks like, let alone his day-to-day personality. Dr. B was trying to describe the kindness and good nature of Dr. Brooks.
Then I invite you to read http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/12/donald-trump-mark-bow...
It's awkward and stands out, true, but it was a quote, and the author might not have had many more to work with on deadline.
And that is why it is sad, that what is expected of people is to become successful assholes.
I think there is a "celebrity" version where external folks have a great deal of respect for the narrative/persona that they see publicly. A lot of times the "real story" is that the guy is a walking shitshow from the perspective of the folks around him.
Then you have the rare folks who are respected in the wider world and by their peers.
A) Tell them to go down the hall, take elevator, go down, and then they'll find their way.
or B) Say "here, come with me." Excuse yourself for a few minutes from whatever business you were attending to. Walk with person to elevator. Strike up a conversation along the way. Once on ground floor, walk with them a little ways more to make sure they see exactly which street to follow. Then return upstairs to whatever you were doing.
That was point of anecdote.
And not only I'm not unique in that regard, but I can also be totally un-humble/un-helpful (if that's what the anecdote meant to imply) at other times, despite having shown someone around some offices.
That's not to dismiss or disparage Brooks' religious beliefs. Only to point out that they are culturally more relevant to the university's stereotypical alum. Few would assume that a university professor would be above giving directions, absent minded schemas aside.
“Here’s Fred Brooks, this giant. I mean — made IBM, adviser
to presidents, all this stuff. And humble,” Bishop said.
There's plenty of unkind behavior going on and being pointed out.
>Brooks wrote the seminal, magnificent book on project management but he's still a voice, crying in the wilderness.
But he's not the only voice any more. I'm sure there are some others, but one I know of is Rich Hickey. Okay, not for the exact same topic as Brooks, but a closely related one, IMO. Coincidentally, I had blogged about a video of him talking at a Clojure meet just yesterday (after watching it for the second time in some months, because I found it good). The topic is not Clojure, it's what he calls (jokingly) Hammock-Driven Development; IOW, thinking about, and analyzing enough, and deeply enough, your work , up front, because that is the better way and actually saves costs over the project lifetime (proven by studies, such as Capers Jones  et al). Here's the blog post, with a link to the video:
or you can watch the video directly here:
 And what he recommends is not the waterfall model or UML, BTW. In fact, he explicitly mentions and does not recommend them. But goes on to say, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. See the video to get the rest.
Edit: I like this Capers Jones quote:
"High-quality software is not expensive. High-quality software is faster and cheaper to build and maintain than low-quality software, from initial development all the way through total cost of ownership."
It was full of great names. Roger Penrose, Donald Knuth, Gary Kasparov, Vint Cerf, Tony Hoare, etc.
Brooks was one of the speakers who seemed really interested in talking to delegates in coffee breaks and sharing stories. A lovely man, and his retirement is well deserved. He has shaped the industry more than any other attendee, even if others may have contributed more to the science, so to speak.
I like that.
[For the curious: http://i.imgur.com/CGv9PGc.jpg ]
Now on the other side, I take his advice in There is No Silver Bullet  very seriously. Improving software engineering is a slog, not a shiny buzzword.
My favorite quote  of his "The most important single decision I ever made was to change the IBM 360 series from a 6-bit byte to an 8-bit byte, thereby enabling the use of lowercase letters. That change propagated everywhere."
I guess the one surprising thing for me was that he was still actively working. Even 15 years ago I thought of him as a grand dean from a past generation. Great to see him stay so vibrant for so long.
Brooks's overview: "I fell in love with computers at age 13, in 1944 when Aiken (architect) and IBM (engineers) unveiled the Harvard Mark I, the first American automatic computer. A half-generation behind the pioneers, I have known many of them. So this abbreviated history is personal in two senses: it is primarily about the people rather than the technology, and it disproportionally emphasizes the parts I know personally."
It was a great talk covering his whole career. A video of the same talk is here: http://www.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/blog/video/lecture-...
"Fred Brooks retires after 612 (mythical) man-months"