Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem

I love Wired Magazine. Every month you can count on great knock’em-out-of-the-park articles.

Having driven to/from work in Toronto during rush-hour traffic for the better part of 3-years, I started consuming audio books to make the time in-transit valuable. I’d wished I could listen to Wired Magazine.

Recently people started telling me I have a perfect face for radio. As with most of my ideas, 2 or 3 unrelated “wants” floating around in my conscious will suddenly converge, resulting in a great idea (at least to me). This is one of them. I will strive to translate my favorite article from Wired Magazine per month to MP3. This is for all those folks stuck in traffic or on the train.

I’m starting with January 2010’s Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem as its a tale synonymous with my industry, software manufacturing. A systemic problem in the software industry is software is never done.

There is always one more feature to add or a framework to be redone. It’s paramount to create project milestones to measure progress against and to let the cast know they are progressing. “Gates” can be used as a decision point to decide if the project will either

a) go forward at all (i.e. cancelled)
b) change direction
c) revise the scope

This story of Duke Nukem is the best example I’ve read in recent memory of software development gone awry (However, I think they were perpetually bouncing between b & c above).  A lesson for all.

Wired – How Success Killed Duke Nukem – p1 (7:10min)
Wired – How Success Killed Duke Nukem – p2 (7:31min)
Wired – How Success Killed Duke Nukem – p3 (7:23min)
Wired – How Success Killed Duke Nukem – p4 (7:26min)

Enjoy the listen.

Source: Wired Magazine – Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem
By Clive Thompson, Wired Magazine, January 2010, Features 18.01
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