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3. 15 pts. Discuss the meaning of the concept of the
Mythical Man and its importance to information technology
and systems design.
Solution
The Mythical man: It is an idea that refers Brook\'s law
which suggests that adding more people to a failing
project delays the project even more. In simple words,
increase of manpower in a bogged down project further
lengthens the schedule of project instead of getting
shortened. Cost varies with manpower and resources, but
progress does not.
And Brook\'s law also states that the possibility of
measuring useful work done by the resources per month is
a myth.
Now, the reason for a software to fail can be many. For
example:
1. Effort is more than progress
2. Schedule not monitored
3. Slippage
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4. Mis-communication or lack of communication, etc.
The concept of mythical man is true because the time
required for the new programmers to learn about the
project and the increased communication overhead will
definitely consume more time.
When n people have to communicate among themselves,
as n increases, their output decreases and when it
becomes negative the project is delayed further with every
person added.
Group intercommunication formula: n(n 1) / 2
Example: 50 developers give 50 · (50 1) / 2 = 1225
channels of communication.
Some of the points that mythical man suggests are:
1. Resolving errors in a complex system gives rise to new
defects.
2. The more complex the project, the more are the
chances of slippage.
3. If a system is too complicated to use, then many of its
features will go unused because no one has the time to
learn how to use them. So, the team of architects should
emphasise on simplicity of system and make it more user
friendly.
4. The manual of system specifications should be altered
as feedback comes in from the implementation teams and
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the users.
5. To avoid disaster, all the teams working on a project
should remain in contact with each other in as many ways
as possiblee-mail, phone, meetings, memos etc.
6. The project estimation should be based on how much
of the work week will actually be spent on technical issues,
as opposed to administrative or other non-technical tasks,
such as meetings, and especially \"stand-up\" or \"all-
hands\" meetings.
7. Create a good surgical team to handle the critical
tasks.
8. At a certain date, no more changes should be allowed
to the system and the code should be frozen. All requests
for changes should be delayed until the next version of the
system.

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