How Many Miracles?

Daniel Starr

After a technology upgrade was deemed a success despite falling short of its performance targets, an even more ambitious project was launched to achieve the original goals. Ambiguous criteria kept competing stakeholders happy for a while — until the project team finally defined how many "great leaps forward" would be required to succeed.

Project Yourself is an ongoing series that invites project professionals to share practical advice, personal insights and pet peeves based on their experiences in the field. Anonymity, if desired, is assured. To submit an article for consideration, contact the editor.
When we left off (see “Old Ware Stories”), the Big New Controller (BNC) Project had achieved less than half its performance target, declared a success and deployed. This bought corporate executives some time, but they knew that in a few more years the flagship System, their biggest single revenue source, would again run out of the resources it needed to meet the demands of increasing traffic and new features. So, almost as soon as the BNC deployment was completed, work started on a new project, WNS (Wonderful New System), which would deal with the existing System's limitations once and for all.
Rather than just building a faster controller, the WNS project changed the underlying architecture of the System: the BNC would stay, doing the real-time …

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"Let us be thankful for fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed."

- Mark Twain