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Business Event Analysis & Modeling (BEAM™)

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What is User Focused Data Architecture?

What is User Focused Data Architecture?

Why do systems development efforts have such a high failure rate? According to the 2006 Chaos Report published by the Standish Group, 65% of software development projects are either “challenged” (46%) or “failed” (19%). Only 35% of the projects were considered a success.
(Source: Software Development Times, issue 169, March 1, 2007, www.sdtimes.com)

Here’s the kicker: those number were trumpeted as a significant improvement! When the last set of numbers was published in 1994, only 16.2% of projects were successful; more than half (52.7%) were “challenged” while 31.1% “failed”.

Can you imagine if any other industry tried to boast about numbers like that? What if 35% of the cars on the road actually worked? Or 46% of banking transactions were “challenged”? Or 19% of phone calls “failed”?

What can be causing such dismal results? Whatever it may be, we know a few things that it isn’t:
  • Underpowered hardware – advances in processing power, network capability, memory capacity, and storage have surpassed the wildest dreams of just a generation ago. Computers are more capable than ever.
  • Incapable software – possibly the only thing that has eclipsed hardware advances has been software capability. At every level from data to presentation, software keeps getting more powerful and easier to use. Increasingly sophisticated development tools are making it possible to do much more with far less.
  • Incompetent technicians – regardless of “geek jokes”, technicians are exploiting the power of hardware and software to tremendous effect.
  • Ignorant users – If there’s one thing users know, it’s their business. They may not be able to describe it at the drop of a hat the way technicians want to hear it, but they know what they’re doing.
Which leaves the question: if all these things are working so well, why the high development failure rate?

A closer look at some of the components may yield some clues – particularly the human components.

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