Small matter of programming

Small matter of programming

Small Matter of Programming (SMOP) was among the "games" described in an article written pseudonymously [ Citation | last = Shedley | first = Ethan I. | title = Big System Games | magazine = Datamation | volume = 17 | issue = 7 | pages = 22-25 | publisher = Technical Publishing Company, 1301 South Grove Ave., Barrington, Illinois 60010 | date = April 1, 1971 ] as paralleling the "Games People Play" identified by Dr. Eric Berne in the field of self-help psychology. The game essentially consists of proposing seemingly simple adjustments to a design, and leaving to someone else the problem of fitting the unexpected consequences into the schedule.

When used in computer science, a SMOP is the smallest unit of software engineering effort which can be allocated at the onset of a project. A SMOP has the curious property that its size increases exponentially as the project progresses. It is not uncommon for a SMOP to grow to man-decades. There is anecdotal evidence of SMOPs encompassing man-centuries.

Note that SMOPs are logarithmic in nature. Each additional SMOP adds another order of magnitude onto calendar time.

The implication of using it is either
* to remind one's colleagues that "every" design change seems like a small matter of programming, until implementation starts, or
* to reassert by irony one's awareness of the danger of underestimating required effort.

References

External links

* [http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/S/SMOP.html Simple Matter of Programming] in the Jargon File


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