I just received an email from Steve McConnell with the results from the last summer survey about the Classic Mistakes of the software development. I already wrote about this survey in my post Classic Mistakes Forever. Steve published his list of Classic Mistakes for the first time in 1996 in his book Rapid Development and due to the dynamic changes of the software business, last year he decided that this list need some actualization.
Now he publishes the results of this survey in a 39-page white paper along with a PowerPoint presentation. There were a lot of questions in that survey so the authors can make a deeper analysis of the nature and the origin of the biggest mistakes we make in software development. The Classic Mistakes list of 2008 has them ordered by the frequency of their occurrence and by the impact they have on the project team to deliver software on time. Mixed together these criteria give us the list of most damaging classic mistakes of our business. I will not tell you which is the most damaging Classic mistake we make – I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of reading it by yourself – just follow this link (it may require free registration) and you will know it.
My professional experience shows that most of the companies that do software development are too far away from the standards Steve has set for Rapid Development and the first and the most important step they need to make is to avoid making those Classic Mistakes. You have no chance of finishing your project on time unless you stop making such mistakes. I strongly believe that every good software project manager should have this list in front of them and should check it regularly asking themselves: Are we making Classic Mistakes? How can we avoid them?
It is not easy, of course. Sometimes you must do things classified as Classic Mistakes forced by the circumstances or by the upper management. But knowing that what you do can lead you to a big trouble will make you be more careful in your actions and to pay a better attention to the risks that are threatening you.
This white paper is a priceless source of information. Read it and think about your projects.
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