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The Four Horsemen of an Ailing Software Project

By George Neville-Neil

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 65 No. 12, Pages 22-23

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Dear KV,

Are there any reliable measurements one can use to judge the health of a software project? I have seen many things written about the quality of software but not very much about the quality of a project itself. I ask this because I worry that I am stuck on a failing project, but it is difficult to know if it is really failing. The company I work for alternately feeds and starves the project of resources, while also saying that completing the next release on time is the key to our success. If we are the key to success, why would they periodically starve the project? I keep wondering if I am a frog in a slow boiling pot of water and that I will only know I should have left once it is too late. If there are measures for software quality, there must surely be measures for project quality?


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