Yet another software development disaster is headed for the digital trash heap of failed projects. This time, the casualty is software funded by the U. S. Census Bureau. The Associated Press reports failure to deliver usable software to census enumerators could add as much as $2 billion to the 2010 census. Worse, the AP reports “census officials are considering a return to using paper and pencil to count every man, woman and child in the nation.”
This is a spectacular train wreck that had doom written all over it from Day One. It’s a familiar, predictable pattern constantly repeated since the first clueless manager commanded “just make it user friendly”.