Software Development Faux Pas

Software projects go bad sometimes. They are late to deliver, bad architecture, a lot of rework, cost overruns, etc. It’s rubbing salt in the wounds to say that this could have all been avoided, especially since the project still needs to be completed. People in charge of the project will never take responsibility for the reasons for the failure, but by Jove, they’ll still try to make it work. Because of differing agendas, the personnel that should have been put on the project, weren’t. Instead, newcomers were allowed to design and architect the solution. Why this happened is beyond me, as this company prizes its architects to a fault, and these newcomers were by no means architects.

The big flaw in trying to complete the project with the same architecture that caused the failure in delivering is that it’s a house of cards. The architecture is fragile, and will collapse at the slightest agitation. All throughout the design and development, the experienced people were hardly consulted. But would you like to guess who were called in the try and salvage the situation? You guessed it.

This scenario happens all the time in information technology departments all over the world. Perhaps the experienced people are taken for granted and it’s “better to be a flamboyant failure than any benign success”. Or perhaps the management feel that the experienced personnel are versed in “old” technology, and they need to “liven” things up with “new” and more functional technology. A lot of times, they fail to realize that the so-called “old” technology is the bread and butter of the company. In addition, when you use new and inexperienced people to architect a new solution for your system, the accrued knowledge of years of experience is not there, so the new people try to make up “stuff”, to disastrous consequences.

One of the reasons given for moving to new technologies and platforms, is that there are fewer people in the workforce versed in the “old” technology. That may be the case, but on the other hand, too many people versed in the “new” technology can be detrimental as well. When there are too many people clamoring to get “into” to the new technology, you get a case of developers that “are a dime a dozen” in this new technology. In other words, people in the old technology are more seasoned, while the new “enthusiasts” are still “green”, and couldn’t program themselves out of a paper bag.

The new technology has not really been proven to be better than the old technology. Sometimes the old technology is not really old. It’s just that it’s been around longer. What people may fail to realize is that if something’s been around longer, and kept up-to-date, it’s more robust than the “new” untried technology.

Anyway, this project is one for the historical records. What would be a pity, however, is that this experience will be forgotten, and bigger, more extensive projects in the future will follow the same path, to similar results.

This story is fictional and anyone mentioned in it are not intentionally depicted to reflect real life.

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About loong

Male, 40, married, computer programmer. Like Sci Fi, Music, Martial Arts, computers.
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