Classic Mistakes Forever!

Last night I spoke about the Classic mistakes of the software development at a seminar organized by the Bulgarian Association of Software Developers (BASD). My speech was inspired by Steve McConnell’s classic book Rapid Development. I had only 45 minutes and I was able only to explain the main principles of the Efficient Development and to focus on the Classic mistakes giving some examples from my experience.

For me, avoiding the Classic mistakes is Rule Number One in software development. When I first read Steve’s article on Classic mistakes I said to myself:

“Wow, he wrote just about my company! How could he see the way we work?!”

Later on I realized that these things happen too often and in many companies so I devoted my life to explain how awful things could happen if we make a classic mistake and to fight against them. Now I am older and wiser and I understand that sometimes they are inevitable and I focused my efforts to actively manage the risks accompanying each mistake I was forced to do.

I was very pleasantly surprised a couple of days ago when Steve McConnell posted an update of the Classic mistakes list on his blog and a survey to check how typical and how powerful are the original classic mistakes more than 10 years later. He also suggests 6 more mistakes that appeared to be actual today. Please, take the survey – it will be useful for the whole software development society to know what are the most common and the most dangerous Classic mistakes.

So, last night, when I came home excited and exhausted from my first public speech I saw another brilliant article on the Classic mistakes – Jeff Atwood posted an article called Escaping From Gilligan’s Island on his blog Coding Horror. He shares his opinion why classic mistakes happen to us and gives many examples there. I was impressed by his explanation why they are called “classic”:

Classic mistakes are classic because they’re so seductive

Nothing more to add.

Discussing the original list of classic mistakes last night it came to my mind that some of them are not so “classic” these days. They either happen more rarely or they don’t have such serious impact on the project’s schedule. So I decided to open a new series of posts in my blog devoted to the classic mistakes refracted by my personal experience. I have worked more than 20 years in the software development field in Bulgaria and my list of classic mistakes will reflect my personal understanding of the development process and will reveal some of the development practices in Bulgaria. It will add another touch to the big picture and I hope it will be interesting for the software engineers all over the world.

You can by the book Rapid Development from my personal bookstore at Amazon.


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