The Laws of Software Process: A New Model for the Production and Management of Software, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Laws of Software Process

A New Model for the Production and Management of Software, 1st Edition

By Phillip G. Armour

Auerbach Publications

272 pages | 90 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849314896
pub: 2003-09-25
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Within one generation, software has become one of the principal sources of wealth in the world. The development and use of software has grown faster than for any artifact in the history of the world. Probably no topic or subject in history has accelerated in its rate of practice as software has. Software development now needs to mature into a disciplined activity to overcome the difficulties that have traditionally plagued it. Software developers, engineers, and project managers need a reference that describes the evolution of software: where it has been, and where it is going.

The Laws of Software Process: A New Model for the Production and Management of Software reveals a novel and compelling structure for development that redefines the very nature and purpose of software. The author explains how, in the modern "knowledge economy," software systems are not "products" in the classical sense, but is the modern medium for the conveyance of information. Literally, software is the currency of the knowledge basis of wealth in today's society.

From this definition flows a new assessment of the basics of software development: the purpose of methods and processes; a comparison of programming languages; and an analysis of quality management, cost estimation, and project management and completion. The groundbreaking perspective outlined in this book serves as an expert guide for successful planning and execution of development projects.


"This book nicely consolidates and expands on the material in Phillip Armour's columns…This is a thought-provoking book that…has ideas about how to approach process design and implementation that could be useful in most situations."

Scott Duncan, Software Quality Press

Table of Contents

The Nature of Software and The Laws of Software Process

A Brief History of Knowledge

The Characteristics of Knowledge Storage Media

The Nature of Software Development

The Laws of Software Process and the Five Orders of Ignorance

The Laws of Software Process

The First Law of Software Process

The Corollary to the First Law of Software Process

The Reflexive Creation of Systems and Processes

The Lemma of Eternal Lateness

The Second Law of Software Process

The Rule of Process Bifurcation

The Dual Hypotheses of Knowledge Discovery

Armour's Observation on Software Process

The Third Law of Software Process (also known as the Footwear Manufacturer's Minor Dependent's Law)

The Twin Goals of Optimal Termination

The Purpose of Process

Types of Teams

Software Teams are All Types at the Same Time

A Range of Unknowns, A Range of Processes

Inventing Processes

The Purpose of Process

The Problems of Process

The Meaning of Methodology

The Maturity of Testing

The Logic of Life Cycles

Words Force Sequence

Shooting Down Zeppelins

Shooting Down Jet Planes

The True Lifecycle

A More Complex Generalized Model

Of Methods and Models and Minds

Models of Convention

Models of Numbers



The Physical Nature of Models

The Logical Nature of Models

Map Onto Problem and/or Solution Space

Methods and Models


The Advent of Agile

It's Always Been Agile

The Problems of "Big" Process

Agile Methods

Extreme Programming (XP)

Code Science

Crystal Methods


Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

Feature-Driven Development (FDD)

Lean Development

Adaptive Software Development (ASD)

Why Agile? Why Now?

Agile and the Orders of Ignorance

Agile and the Orders of Ignorance

Subdividing the Orders of Ignorance

Agile and Zeroth Order Ignorance

Agile and First Order Ignorance

Agile and Second Order Ignorance

Agile and Third Order Ignorance

Agile and the Fourth Order of Ignorance

The Future of Software Development

The Execution of Knowledge

The Demise of "Software Engineering"

Software Development as an Educational Activity

The Project

Appendix A The Five Knowledge Storage Media


A Brief History of Knowledge Storage

The Characteristics of the Knowledge Storage Media

Building on Knowledge

Brains, Books and Software

Appendix B The Five Orders of Ignorance

A Walk in the Woods

A Path Less Traveled



The Expectation of Product

Kinds of Knowledge

The Five Orders of Ignorance

The Five Orders of Ignorance in Systems Development

The 3OI Cycle

The Inability to Measure Knowledge

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Security / General