Software Development: Five Easy Ways to Fail

Fri, 2007-10-26 17:39 by admin

Read the complete article

How Hard Could It Be?: Five Easy Ways to Fail

Nothing like a weak team or an unrealistic schedule to start a project off right

By: Joel Sposky

Published November 2007

A huge number of technology projects go wrong. This is news to no one. Whether you run a software company with a number of ongoing development efforts or you have a nontech company that hires consultants here and there to provide systems integration, chances are you've bumped up against this problem. Delays, blown budgets, and outright failures are so common in the software world, in fact, that it's hardly newsworthy when a project is years late and millions over budget.

In 2003, for example, I flew out to Los Angeles for one of those conferences that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) occasionally puts on for software developers. At the event, Microsoft made a lot of exciting announcements about some of the revolutionary new features coming out soon in the next version of Windows. Looking back at my notes, I see that one of the important new features was something called WinFS. I'll spare you the boring details, but basically WinFS proposed to combine the file system features of your operating system (storing files and folders on a hard drive) with database features (where you store individual data records for easy search and retrieval) into one big unholy file-and-database mishmash.

This was quite an ambitious undertaking. WinFS was in technical terms approximately the equivalent of rearranging the nation's transportation system to accommodate flying cars. Yes, it would put airlines out of business, and yes, every garage would need to be widened a bit to accommodate cars with wings, but hey, we oughta be able to deliver this in a year or so. Two years, tops.

Three years passed. A manager at Microsoft named Quentin Clark announced on his blog that WinFS simply could not ...

Read the complete article