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Why Bad Things Happen to Good Projects
May 1996 (vol. 13 no. 3)
pp. 27-32
When building a relatively complex system that involves multiple computers and multiple users, Murphy's law inevitably strikes: Something will go wrong. This article characterizes two common pitfalls, the Quality-Capacity Syndrome and the Missing-Tools Crisis, and shows how to overcome them. Since both pitfalls have occurred with some frequency in unrelated software-development projects, they appear to be independent of individual and management skills — factors responsible for a large variance in project success. Likewise, since the affected projects followed reasonably good development practices, the appearance of these problems serves to underscore that serious problems can occur even in the best-intentioned multiuser, distributed-application development project. What makes the Quality-Capacity Syndrome and Missing-Tools Crisis. so deadly is that they tend to occur together just as the project is nearing completion, putting the schedule in jeopardy. To examine these two pitfalls, I pasted together a fictitious development project called GEMS, Greatest Electronic Mail Systems. GEMS is a composite of real projects that experienced the Quality-Capacity Syndrome and Missing-Tools Crisis.
Citation:
Karen Mackey, "Why Bad Things Happen to Good Projects," IEEE Software, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 27-32, May 1996, doi:10.1109/52.493017
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