One of the most well-known experts in software engineering, Capers Jones, has built up an extensive database of metrics covering more than 20,000 projects, many of them quite large. Armed with this data, he has frequently written about what activities and approaches work in practice and how much lift, if any, they actually provide — and what their costs are. In this guest editorial, he informally looks at how some popular “laws” of programming and business hold up when compared with reality of software development. — Ed.