a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

Failure is always an option

IEEE Spectrum took a look at IT failures ten years ago and later started the Risk Factor blog. For the 10th anniversary of the original article, the magazine takes a look at the last 10 years of technology professionals having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day: Lessons from a Decade of IT Failures.

It’s a fun interactive report in several sections.

The Staggering Impact of IT Systems Gone Wrong
Explore the many ways in which IT failures have squandered money, wasted time, and generally disrupted people’s lives

Overcomplexifying, Underdelivering
Trying to replace multiple systems with one can lead to none

Life Cycles of Failed Projects
When even more money and more time can’t prevent project disasters

IT Failure Blame Game
Try to match failures and glitches with their reported causes

Here’s a nice diagram from the Life Cycles article — the US Air Force’s ECSS was originally estimated to cost $1.8B. Eight years later, after spending $1.1B with another $1B required to get even 25% functionality and a new total estimate of $8B, the system was cancelled.

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And I liked this timeline of incident duration by industry:

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