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“The Five Orders of Ignorance” (CS 428, Winter 2019)

January 10, 2019 2 Comments

New semester, new posts. Here is my lecture on 1/07/2019 about the appendix “The Five Orders of Ignorance” found in Philip Armour’s book, The Laws of Software Process. I consider this to be an extremely important set of insights as to why so many software projects are late or fail altogether.

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About the Author:

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at

Comments (2)

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  1. Charlie Jackson says:

    Loved watching the lecture. We’ve been going thru a number of the things you talked about in developing our new product that make it take longer than we hoped for. Fortunately, I’m management and I don’t put arbitrary deadlines on my folks, but it’s really, really hard to stay disciplined and to keep doing that. I had hoped we could do something in a year and a half and we are over three years now. Part of it comes from the fact that I don’t compromise (you know my track record).

    But, finally we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (meaning, months more now, not years).

    Looks like you’re enjoying being in the classroom.

    All the best to you,

    – – Charlie – –

  2. admin says:

    Charlie! Great to hear from you, and thanks for the kind words.

    The simple truth is, developing new software is a crapshoot. The more novel, the more inventive, and (thus) the more potentially valuable it is, the less likely it is that we can anticipate all the problems we’re going to encounter along the way.

    Yep, love teaching (I did it at BYU 30 years ago as well, so this is a kind of return engagement), though it’s just one class. Most of my CS 428 students are seniors on the verge of graduating, so the class is intended to prepare them for the real world. Feedback from students of past semesters is that it does do that. 🙂 ..bruce..

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