Re: IT, fostering delusions since 1977
Here's how things work in the real world of software development:
Customer spends 2 years and massive amounts of money developing an unambiguous, watertight specification. This takes endless rounds of meetings, consultations, requests for comments, workshops and fact finding trips.
Specification is put out to tender. The only companies willing to wade through the 3000 pages of specifications are massive, multi-national conglomerates (MMNC). Small, innovative software companies know to avoid this potential clusterf*ck.
After a year, there are only 3 tender bids, all from the same 3 MMNCs. All 3 bids are similarly priced and will take several years to complete. The tender is awarded to the same MMNC which has several other, similarly sized contracts.
Work commences and initially proceeds well until the first change request. It turns out that some requirements have changed since the spec was developed 3 years ago. Some things are no longer needed but other things are now essential. MMNC does an impact assessment and says project will be only delayed by 1 month, with no impact on cost. This emboldens people who now think that *all* changes are free. Changes now come in thick and fast as a lot has changed in the intervening 3 years. MMNC then says that project will be delayed and cost more as changes are not really free, after all.
Work still goes on until someone notices that the colour of a widget is not specified. All work stops while the colour is queried with the company. This takes endless rounds of meetings, consultations, workshops and fact finding trips. After 3 months, a decision is made on the colour of the widget and work recommences.
The above cycle is repeated until something is *eventually* delivered at twice the cost and twice the time. Users try it but their needs have changed in the 6 years since the spec was written, so they don't use it.
The 'blame game' now starts in earnest with the company and MMNC each pointing the finger at each other. This continues until the next specification is developed and put out to tender.