We hear our clients complain all the time, but then they turn right around and do things that make it worse. It’s not like anybody is intentionally screwing these projects up. I think they just don’t realize what they’re doing. Many executives are so excited about and proud of the huge amount of data they have now. Yes, it’s a great boon; we have more data, and we can do more with it. But that data growth increases the complexity of what we’re dealing with. In a lot of ways it’s the Indian Email List data complexity that’s driving the cost. Part of the problem has to do with beliefs that are no longer true, if they were ever true to begin with. I list seven of these fallacies in the book. One of the fallacies has to do with over specifying requirements.
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Although it’s true you won’t get exactly
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what you want without detailed requirements, the converse is even truer: Your detailed requirements will drive your project costs up 10- to 100-fold, increase your risk, and greatly prolong the project. Another fallacy has to do with the belief that software development costs way more than it actually does when done correctly. I know so many companies and state agencies that somehow became convinced over the last couple of decades that a fairly ordinary information system, such as a simple inventory system or a customer relationship management system, should cost them several hundred million dollars to implement.
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Yet when you study the system and what it’s designed to do, it’s very hard to figure out where that acceptance of high costs comes from, other than habit. So the people doing the procurement all that they’ve become convinced because all their peers spend this much. Let me give you an example. Each of the 50 U.S. states has its own child support enforcement system. About 10 or 15 years ago, these agencies started to replace their old systems, funded by the federal government. The first few systems had contract values of $70 million to $90 million, and then these projects ran over budget.