Design of Design, The

Frederick P. Brooks  
Total pages
March 2010
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Design of Design, The
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Effective design is at the heart of everything from software development to engineering to architecture. But what do we really know about the design process? What leads to effective, elegant designs - and what doesn't? In The Design of Design, the legendary Fred Brooks takes on these questions - and does for design what his classic best-seller The Mythical Man-Month did for project management. In a series of essays reminiscent of the approach he took in The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks illuminates hidden issues that designers face in every discipline, and uncovers processes and patterns most likely to lead to excellence. In his first major book in more than three decades, Brooks addresses the design process as it has evolved today -- including new issues and opportunities that accompany team-based and distributed design of complex systems. Drawing on the experiences and intuitions of dozens of exceptional designers, Brooks argues convincingly that better outcomes now require bolder design decisions. Brooks shares new important insights about constraints, budgets, design empiricism, aesthetics and style, tools, and more - including two powerful essays on what makes designers great, and where great designers come from. The book concludes with six case study "trips" through design spaces ranging from beach houses to IBM's Operating System/360 - the project that made Brooks famous some four decades ago.


  • Fred Brooks shares extraordinary new insights for designers in every discipline, from software development to engineering to architecture
  • Discover the surprising realities of today's design processes - including the new concerns and opportunities that accompany distributed design of complex systems
  • Learn why the boldest design decisions often lead to the best outcomes
  • Table of Contents

    Preface ix


    Part I: Models of Designing 1

    Chapter 1: The Design Question 3

    Chapter 2: How Engineers Think of Design-The Rational Model 13

    Chapter 3: What's Wrong with This Model? 21

    Chapter 4: Requirements, Sin, and Contracts 39

    Chapter 5: What Are Better Design Process Models? 51


    Part II: Collaboration and Telecollaboration 61

    Chapter 6: Collaboration in Design 63

    Chapter 7: Telecollaboration 89


    Part III: Design Perspectives 103

    Chapter 8: Rationalism versus Empiricism in Design 105

    Chapter 9: User Models-Better Wrong than Vague 113

    Chapter 10: Inches, Ounces, Bits, Dollars-The Budgeted Resource 119

    Chapter 11: Constraints Are Friends 127

    Chapter 12: Esthetics and Style in Technical Design 139

    Chapter 13: Exemplars in Design 153

    Chapter 14: How Expert Designers Go Wrong 167

    Chapter 15: The Divorce of Design 175

    Chapter 16: Representing Designs' Trajectories and Rationales 185


    Part IV: A Computer Scientist's Dream System for Designing Houses 201

    Chapter 17: A Computer Scientist's Dream System for Designing Houses-Mind to Machine 203

    Chapter 18: A Computer Scientist's Dream System for Designing Houses-Machine to Mind 219


    Part V: Great Designers 229

    Chapter 19: Great Designs Come from Great Designers 231

    Chapter 20: Where Do Great Designers Come From? 243


    Part VI: Trips through Design Spaces: Case Studies 257

    Chapter 21: Case Study: Beach House “View/360” 259

    Chapter 22: Case Study: House Wing Addition 279

    Chapter 23: Case Study: Kitchen Remodeling 297

    Chapter 24: Case Study: System/360 Architecture 313

    Chapter 25: Case Study: IBM Operating System/360 331

    Chapter 26: Case Study: Book Design of Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution 347

    Chapter 27: Case Study: A Joint Computer Center Organization: Triangle Universities Computation Center 355

    Chapter 28: Recommended Reading 367


    Acknowledgments 371

    Bibliography 375

    People Index 393

    Subject Index 401


    Back Cover

    Making Sense of Design


    Effective design is at the heart of everything from software development to engineering to architecture. But what do we really know about the design process? What leads to effective, elegant designs? The Design of Design addresses these questions.


    These new essays by Fred Brooks contain extraordinary insights for designers in every discipline. Brooks pinpoints constants inherent in all design projects and uncovers processes and patterns likely to lead to excellence. Drawing on conversations with dozens of exceptional designers, as well as his own experiences in several design domains, Brooks observes that bold design decisions lead to better outcomes.


    The author tracks the evolution of the design process, treats collaborative and distributed design, and illuminates what makes a truly great designer. He examines the nuts and bolts of design processes, including budget constraints of many kinds, aesthetics, design empiricism, and tools, and grounds this discussion in his own real-world examples-case studies ranging from home construction to IBM's Operating System/360. Throughout, Brooks reveals keys to success that every designer, design project manager, and design researcher should know.



    Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., is Kenan Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, for his work on IBM's Operating System/360, and the A. M. Turing Award, for his “landmark contributions to computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering.” He is the author of the best-selling book The Mythical Man-Month, Anniversary Edition (Addison-Wesley, 1995).