When it comes to fixing things around the house, I range between Unconscious and Conscious Incompetence depending on the task, (or the prior evening’s indulgences). Recently, while standing in the checkout line of my local Home Depot, (for the second time that day), I looked at the guy behind me and said “What is it about every home project that requires three trips to Home Depot?”
Without skipping a beat he replied – “That’s the Two-P Syndrome”*.
“The Two-P Syndrome? What’s that?”
I laughed. But then I realized that he was spot on. I could argue that my lack of knowledge makes it impossible to plan. Or, I could use the response I routinely receive from every contractor I’ve ever hired… “I don’t know what it’ll cost until I get into it.”
I thought about IT projects and realized that the same rule applies. The difference is, that with software development projects, you really don’t know what it will cost until you get into it. No amount of up-front planning can accurately estimate the cost of the total project. Why? Because the users defining the requirements don’t know what they want until they can see it, experience it, and test it to see if it even solves the problem.
In this blog series we’re going to explore the problems that contribute to the absurdly high failure rates of IT Development projects and what you can do about it.
*It was actually the “Three-P Syndrome”, but I have cleaned it up for a wider audience [Ed.]
– David Schulman, Principal, Visualization Practice