In Steve McConnell’s book Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules, he defines “classic mistakes” as mistakes that have been made so often, by so many people, that the consequences of making these mistakes should be predictable and the mistakes should be avoidable. McConnell is CEO and Chief Software Engineer at Construx Software.

To determine the frequency and severity of common software development mistakes, the authors of this Construx Software Builders white paper surveyed 500 software practitioners. Of the 42 classic software development mistakes identified, these 10 mistakes are reported to be the most damaging:

  1. Unrealistic expectations
  2. Overly optimistic schedules
  3. Shortchanged quality assurance
  4. Wishful thinking
  5. Confusing estimates with targets
  6. Excessive multi-tasking
  7. Feature creep
  8. Noisy, crowded offices
  9. Abandoning planning under pressure
  10. Insufficient risk management

Several of the other 32 classic mistakes identified are: switching development tools in the middle of a project, developer gold plating, and friction between developers and customers.

Read the paper about software development’s classic mistakes to get more details about the survey results. Then, let us know how this list of 10 most damaging mistakes matches up with your work experience.