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Classic Software Development Mistakes

Summary #

Steve McConnell has compiled an excellent list of 25 classic mistakes that are made during software development—many of which apply to project management in general.

Making a mistake

(Photo: Herman Yung on Flickr)

Commentary #

The enumerated mistakes are grouped into four general categories:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Product
  4. Technology

The first two categories could be describing almost any project. The third and fourth are more specific to software development. Many cover issues related to human assessment of risk and our poor ability to judge future states (e.g., optimism bias).

Personally, I'd like to see more version control on non-software development projects. Three professionals I think are ripe for using version control: secretaries, lawyers, and politicians. All three are in the business of moving documents around. The latter two are more transparent when we see what changes have been made (more reason for them to dislike this approach). Overall, the amount of back-and-forth could be dramatically reduced if version control were used (e.g., tumblr posted their policies on GitHub).

See Also #