IT Projects and The Swing Cartoon

Software projects are by definition people centric: software can only be produced by humans, and therefore all it requires is human capital and what goes with it (budget, communication, ...etc.).

Since people are the main component, communication is crucial. Like every project involving humans, communication can break down, and the results are suboptimal to say the least.

In IT projects, this was immortalized using the Tire Swing Cartoon. I recall first seeing this cartoon in the late 1980s. It depicts how each stakeholder in the project envisioned the product, or delivered his part.

The project is simply a tire swing. As the customer described it, it has no tire at all, and has three planks instead of just one. It gets documented as one plank with three ropes. The analyst designs it with the ropes tied around the trunk, not a horizontal branch. The programmers then code it but the ropes are tied to different branches. The project goes into crisis mode to make it work, and the trunk is cut off and supports are added to make the swing swing. What the user really wanted was a simple rope  attached to a branch with a tire dangling from it.

Recently, this cartoon has been redone in color, taking the original six slides and  making ten out of them.

So true, and so recurring ... 




Wow! Dilbert comes to

Wow! Dilbert comes to software developement.