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Book review: “Why New Systems Fail”

July 15, 2009 0 Comments
Book review: “Why New Systems Fail”

My review of Why New Systems Fail by Phil Simon is now up on Slashdot. Here’s the opening paragraph: Over the last forty years, a small set of classic works on risks and pitfalls in software engineering and IT project management have been published and remained in print. The authors are well known, or should […]

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Techno-blindness

May 28, 2009 1 Comment
Techno-blindness

A few decades back, when handheld electronic calculators were still pretty neat, someone did a study on the authority people gave to them. As I recall, those conducting the study built some normal-looking calculators that were designed with specific errors in the calculation circuits such that in certain cases the calculators would give wrong answers. […]

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Fireflies, conveyor belts, and landfills

March 4, 2009 0 Comments
Fireflies, conveyor belts, and landfills

My newest Baseline column is up, and in it, I talk about technology lifecycles that can cause you grief: Each technology is on its own product lifecycle, which may or may not match with your organization’s business and development lifecycles. In particular, there are certain cycle mismatch patterns that commonly occur in organizations looking to […]

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A classic reminder of product misdesign

February 22, 2009 0 Comments
A classic reminder of product misdesign

Many large-scale software projects, whether commercial, two-party, or internal, end up poorly matched to their intended use and fail to achieve their intended use. But the same factors that lead to such disappointments occur in all industries and settings. Though I never drove one (and probably only saw them rarely while growing up), as a […]

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The thermocline of innovation (NASA, again)

January 30, 2009 2 Comments
The thermocline of innovation (NASA, again)

I have written about the thermocline of truth, a phenomenon I have witnessed several times in large IT projects where the true status of the project (usually not good) gets blocked at a certain layer of management, slowly moving up the management chain and usually reaching the top just weeks before the scheduled release date.  […]

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