Avoiding Development Disasters
As most development managers know, the FBI's Virtual Case File (VCF) system has become the epitome of the software industry's most expensive failed project. Running taxpayers between $100 and $200 million dollars over four years, the VCF delivered little more than a mountain of useless documentation, nearly a million lines of code that will never run in production and a whole lot of costly lessons. Worse still, the lessons offered from this multi-million dollar failure could have just as easily been found in a $50 software engineering textbook. In fact, the major factors behind VCF's failure read much like such a book's table of contents:
Enterprise Architecture: VCF had none.
Management: Developers were both poorly managed and micromanaged.
Skilled Personnel: Managers and engineers with no formal training were placed in critical roles.
Requirements: They were constantly being changed.
Scope Creep: New features were added even after the project was behind schedule.
Steady Team: More people were constantly added to the team in an attempt to speed the project.
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