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The software profession has a problem, widely recognized but which nobody seems willing to do anything about; a variant of the well known “telephone game”, where some trivial rumor is repeated from one person to the next until it has become distorted beyond recognition and blown up out of all proportion. Unfortunately, the objects of this telephone game are generally considered cornerstone truths of the discipline, to the point that their acceptance now seems to hinder further progress. This book takes a look at some of those “ground truths”: the claimed 10x variation in productivity between developers; the “software crisis”; the cost-of-change curve; the “cone of uncertainty”; and more. It assesses the real weight of the evidence behind these ideas – and confronts the scary prospect of moving the state of the art forward in a discipline that has had the ground kicked from under it.