Author Topic: New Blog Post: Too Busy Bailing to Plug the Leak  (Read 9043 times)


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New Blog Post: Too Busy Bailing to Plug the Leak
« on: October 29, 2008, 02:30:31 PM »
Too Busy Bailing to Plug the Leak

My last post, Design Fail Patterns, dealt with the ways that people often select the wrong technologies for a project. That made me think of another way I’ve seen projects and people fail.

Cast your mind back to the days of the tall ships, great wooden vessels that plied the oceans under wind power. Imagine one of those majestic ships sailing along when suddenly it hits a reef, tearing a large hole below the waterline. All hands scramble to save the ship. They bail and bail, but the ship continues to sink. As the ship sinks lower, they bail more furiously until finally the ship is lost. The survivors are washed ashore on a nearby island.

As they stare out at the masts of the ship, still visible above the waves, the Captain asks, “Why weren’t we able to plug the leak?”

One of the crew pipes up, “Captain, sir, we were too busy bailing to plug the leak.”

OK, this is a contrived example, and it’s very hard to believe that it could occur in real life. However, very similar situations frequently arise in software development.

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