Yes, yes, yes thirty times over

Steve McConnell (yes, the Steve McConnell) once wrote a piece entitled Classic Mistakes Enumerated, all about typical issues encountered in software development projects, time and time again. Never a truer word was committed to keyboard. And he re-visits the post with important addenda.

Now that this post is getting a lot of attention out there, Jeff Atwood (as is his wont, annoyingly ;-)) says it best:

The Classic Mistakes case study is unnerving to read; it’s like those staged re-enactments you see on America’s Most Wanted. It’s an exaggerated but strangely accurate summary of every pathological software project I’ve ever participated in, which is to say almost all of them.

Read more: Jeff Atwood: Escaping From Gilligan’s Island.

This stuff is truly scary. I can often see the mistakes coming. Sometimes, I know when I’m making a lot of them—and yet they still happen. I even once joined a project that was several thousand** over budget before it had started (an unrealistic budget, I hasten to add). Urgh, urgh, urgh.

Read this list. Commit it to memory. Refer to it often. I intend to.

(By “several thousand”, I mean the equivalent of the purchase price of a house in the UK).


  1. I read this article a couple of days ago and immediately forwarded it on to my product manager. Hopefully, some of this will sink in for the next release.Sean Burgess#

Comments on this post are now closed.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.