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Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior by Tim Lister, Peter Hruschka, Steve McMenamin, Tom DeMarco, James Robertson, Suzanne Robertson

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3. Dead Fish

From Day One, the project has no chance of meeting its goals; most people on the project know this and say nothing.

The goals of many IT projects can be summarized simply: We need this set of functionality, with this accuracy, with reasonable robustness, by this calendar date. The team is assembled, and the statements of goals and constraints are worked into detailed requirements and designs; and they’re published.

The big secret is that nobody on the project believes that the project can be an outright success. Usually, the deadline is not attainable with the other goals unchanged. Mysteriously, no one declares that there is a big, stinking, dead fish of failure already smelling up the project.

As the Greek tragedy plays out, the ...

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