The second-system effect (also known as second-system syndrome) is the tendency of small, elegant, and successful systems, to be succeeded by over-engineered, bloated systems, due to inflated expectations and overconfidence.
The phrase was first used by Fred Brooks in his book The Mythical Man-Month, first published in 1975. It described the jump from a set of simple operating systems on the IBM 700/7000 series to OS/360 on the 360 series, which happened in 1964.
- Raymond, Eric. "Second-system effect". The Jargon File. Retrieved 24 Jun 2013.
- Brooks Jr., Frederick P. (1975). "The Second-System Effect". The Mythical Man-Month: essays on software engineering (PDF). Addison Wesley Longman. pp. 53–58. ISBN 0-201-00650-2.
- "Things You Should Never Do", by Joel Spolsky, about the Netscape project
- Rewriting Software, in Notes on Haskell
- Rewrites Considered Harmful? by Neil Gunton
- The Big Rewrite by Chad Fowler
- “Improve things from 70% to 90%, but not from 90% to 110%“ by Petr Kubáč