Consensual Hallucinations

Why does this strike a chord? This frankly brutal post on myths of Project Management is much more than that:

Life is full of consensual hallucinations. A polite way of saying we’re surrounded by bullshit. If you live in a democracy, you tend to believe you have a say in what happens in your life. There’s a tendency to ignore the reality of politicians being soulless whores who are bought and paid for by vested interests. The consensual hallucination of participatory democracy is more comforting. Voting is little more than a sideshow but life’s a little easier to bear if we pretend voting can actually change anything.

I can attest to the fact that software development is not all that predictable. Well, let me restate that. Not all aspects of software development are predictable – people, problems, processes or specs. There is a complex relationship between various factors that get you something useful (or usable) at some point in time. But it is not based on what was expected or even predicted at the beginning of a project.

I am a strong adherent of theory P based on over 25 years of software development.

Theory P adherents believe that the normal case for software projects is that tasks are rarely completed exactly as estimated, but that as a project progresses, the aggregate variance from estimates falls.

Believing in Theory P, we believe we ought to have a process for continually updating a plan that asymptotically approaches a description of reality as the project nears its conclusion.

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