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“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -
deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the myth -
persistent, persuasive and unrealistic”
 


   
                John F. Kennedy Jr. (1917 - 1963)
                    President of the United States
 


ACM DL Author-ize serviceTen unmyths of project estimation
Phillip Armour
Communications of the ACM, 2002


The Myth of "Myth"

What is an "unmyth"?                                 
 

According to the late philosopher Joseph Campbell, a myth is not "untrue" as we normally think of untruth--it is not a falsehood or a lie.
In fact, according to Campbell, a myth is actually the essence of truth, but it is wrapped up in a fairy tale that makes it memorable.

When the human race passed on its knowledge from generation to generation through oral tradition, the messages had to be memorable.   A myth contains the truth wrapped inside a story.  The "story" part of the myth is like a wrapper that makes the kernel of truth memorable.  Usually the story is the most visible part of the myth, but it is not the important part.  And the story is not intended to be literally true.

So, if a myth is a truth that appears false, then an unmyth is a falsehood that appears true.  There are ten unmyths in software project estimation:

    There are ways to "myth-treat" the unmyths.

 

Ten Unmyths of Project Estimation