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Worse Than Failure

I spent a little time this week speaking with Alex Papadimoulis, better known as the man who runs, recently renamed "Worse Than Failure." His site recounts tales of disastrous development, from project management gone spectacularly bad to inexplicable coding choices. Over the past three or four years, Alex has seen a lot of bad programming, and he offers a few solutions in an interview to appear in the April 15 issue of Redmond Developer News.

"It's amazing. It's kind of disheartening to see how this is just so common in the industry," he says of the epic programming meltdowns. "It really shows that the industry as a whole has a lot of maturing to do. We're getting there. But it's the same pattern, time and time again."

Papadimoulis says programmers are often their own worst enemy, creating overly complex systems to solve problems that haven't emerged yet. His solution? Simplify. Focus on the challenge at hand, rather than build lofty frameworks and systems in the hope of shortcutting an issue down the road.

Is it frustrating, watching allegedly smart people make the same mistakes over and over? Absolutely, says Papadimoulis.

"At the same time, we can have fun laughing at it because we all have the same experience each day. And there's a lot of take-away to these stories and how to avoid these things yourself," he says.

Have you learned from bitter experience? We'd love to hear your stories of great WTF moments in development. Maybe, just maybe, you can save one of our readers from making the same, tragic mistake. Write me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 04/04/2007

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