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96 things everybody should know

  1. Consistency is the same thing as Reality
  2. Problems are never actually solved, they're just postponed
  3. Everybody is always using the wrong programming language
  4. There are no magic bullets1
  5. Adding more programmers to a late project makes it later1
  6. Doing more than one thing at a time does not always improve efficiency
  7. Thinking is the same thing as doing, but without moving your body
  8. You will never really think until you do something
  9. Software is bureaucracy
  10. The point of a programming language is to give you a different point of view
  11. Naming is everything
  12. Plan to throw the first version away, you will anyway1
  13. Estimating the time to write a program is the same thing as writing the program
  14. All complex software systems are an attempt to implement an artificial intelligence
  15. People don't want to be heard, they want you to agree
  16. Knowing the problem is more important than knowing how to solve the problem
  17. Users don't real manuals, and programmers don't believe users
  18. Nobody knows what they want until they see it
  19. Most problems are solved by either brute force or inspiration
  20. You can't estimate inspiration
  21. Everybody will have the same insight, eventually
  22. Systems in general work poorly, or not at all2
  23. A fail-safe system will fail by failing to fail safe2
  24. You can't standardize a perspective

1 - Fred Brooks
2 - John Gall