Home > management, technical > The Gap Of Woe

The Gap Of Woe

In “Why Software Fails”, the most common factors that contribute to software project failure are enumerated as:

  • Unrealistic or unarticulated project goals
  • Inaccurate estimates of needed resources
  • Badly defined system requirements
  • Poor reporting of the project’s status
  • Unmanaged risks
  • Poor communication among customers, developers, and users
  • Use of immature technology
  • Inability to handle the project’s complexity
  • Sloppy development practices
  • Poor project management
  • Stakeholder politics
  • Commercial pressures

Yawn. These failure factors have remained the same for forty years and there are no silver bullet(s) in sight. Oh sure, tools and practices and methodologies have “slightly” improved project performance over the decades, but the increase in size/complexity of the software systems we develop is outpacing performance improvement efforts by a large margin.

  1. February 28, 2012 at 5:04 am

    fully agree, but I also see light on the horizon. What you describe is a “problematique” and it might be wise to use another “languaging” and other group deliberation processes. I feel needs to improve and expand but waht Warfield and Chirstakis and collegues have developed over the last 30+years is maybe only used so far only in mediation and reconcilliation processes in hightly complex, dynamic,.. situations. I mean SDD Structured Dialogic Design. Maybe start here at the site of a friend: Peter Jones Structured Dialogic Design – Transformation Dialogues http://blogora.wetpaint.com/page/Structured+Dialogic+Design and not forget there is more on GLOBAL AGORAS and the 21stCenturyAgora …

    • February 28, 2012 at 5:24 am

      I love the word “problematique” but it’s not as funny or informal as Ackoff’s “mess”. They both convey the same idea: there is no such thing as a “problem” – singular.

      Is Warfield’s “Interactive Management” process for problematique resolution really being used much in practice? I take it that “SDD” is a derivative of IM?

  2. woe-tide fish
    February 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Odd…if you switch out the word “software” and substitute “design” in the title, you effectively outline every stumbing block I swim into on a daily basis.

    • February 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Maybe the failure factors list is “universal”?

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