Software Engineering Stories

Here are some stories about software engineering. These stories are here for all to read and enjoy. Please send mail to me if you use them in classes or circulate them through your company. I'd also like a note if you link to these pages, so that I can let you know if they are moved, renamed, or improved.

Three Questions About Each Bug You Find
Published in ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, vol 14 no 5 July 1989 pages 62-63. (07/89)
Cleaning up the Basement in the Dark
Published in ACM Software Engineering Notes, April 1992. (04/92)
It Can Be Done
Published in IEEE Computer, May 1994. (05/94)
The Evolution of My Thinking
Fads in software engineering. (06/95)
Nasty Question
What do you do to make your product high quality? The four steps to quality. (06/95)
A Few Minutes' Discussion
The conversation we should have had. (11/11/94)
What really happened? (07/95)
NASA's $30,000 drops of Epoxy
A different Hubble story. (07/95)
The Risks of Electronic Communication
Advice to new electronic mail and netnews users. (06/95)
Painting the Wall
A person I didn't hire. (06/95)
When the River Is Polluted
Find the root cause. (06/95)
Structure Marking
How the Multics directory structure was defended. (06/95)
Perfection Pills
A pharmacological approach to quality. (06/95)
A lesson from John Cage. (11/11/94)
Check Marks
Observed high quality and how to do it. (06/95)
Software Engineering Proverbs
Collected graffiti. (11/08/23) updated
Software Engineering Reading List
Some favorite books and papers on programming and quality. (11/08/23) updated
"The Multics System Programming Process"
An invited paper (06/78) for COMPCON 78 about our team's development process. Reprinted in the IEEE Tutorial on Software Maintenance.
Software Engineering Comix
Seven b&w comic strips for programmers. (7/24/95)
A technique for testing server programs. (1988)
Gauss's Algorithm
A date-related bug. (06/12/99)
Management Tactics
One step toward changing the development culture. (2001)
The Bulgarian Lesson
How one group got started. (2001)
Van Vleck's Comb
Model, Policy, Procedure, Tool. (2002)
Interviewing and Hiring
Hiring people. (2004)
The uses of theory. (2005)
Dumbo Management, Blender Management, Cargo Cults, and the Flying Trapeze
Thoughts on checklists. (2010)
Slide One
Effective Presentations. (2019)
Software Disasters. Why? (12/01/18)