Information distribution aspects of design methodology – Parnas, D. L. (1971)

Fred Yankowski shares a paper, Information distribution aspects of design methodology, from David Parnas.

The role of documentation in the design and implementation of complex systems is explored, resulting in suggestions in sharp contrast with current practice. The concept of system structure is studied by examining the meaning of the phrase “connections between modules”. It is shown that several system design goals (each suggesting a partial time ordering of the decisions) may be inconsistent. Some properties of programmers are discussed. System documentation, which makes all information accessible to anyone working on the project, is discussed. The thesis that such information “broadcasting” is harmful, that it is helpful if most system information is hidden from most programmers, is supported by use of the above mentioned considerations as well as by examples. An information hiding technique of documentation is exhibited in the appendix.

Here’s a post from “the morning paper” on this one.