Falling down is part of growing Up; the study of failure and the Software Engineering community

  • Darren Dalcher
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 750)


Software development efforts are characterised by; project failures, runaway projects and integration and communication problems. Analysing why some projects finish on target while others lose track of their original objectives, constraints and milestones, can only be viewed as a long term investment The study of failures is a sensible approach for utilising past experience and advancing to the next level of maturity. This paper introduces the discipline of Forensic Engineering and frames it within the software development environment. The value of failure analysis is discussed from a number of viewpoints and the educational implications explored. Finally the paper calls for a new attitude towards failure, where in order to maximise potential learning, acceptance of failure is the new order of the day.


Software Engineer Forensic Analysis Software Development Environment Project Failure Double Loop Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anon: Benefits of software engineering methods and tools,A study for the Department of Trade and Industry. London, UK: PA Computers and Communication 1985Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. R. Blum: Software Engineering a holistic view. New York: Oxford University Press 1992Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. N. Charette: Software Engineering Risk Analysis and Management. New York:Mcgraw-Hill 1989Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. N. Charette: Application Strategies for Risk Analysis. New York: Mcgraw-Hill 1990Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    W. W. Cotterman, J. A. Senn: Challenges and Strategies for Research in Systems Development. New York:John Wiley & Sons. 1992Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    D. Dalcher: Total Project Management. To appear in: Proceedings of the 1993 PMI Annual Seminar/Symposium. Virginia: PMI PressGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    D. Dalcher: Forensic Engineering in practice. To appear in: Proceedings of the IEEE CBSE Task Force Proceedings. Kansas 1993Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    D. Dalcher: Dynamic Software Project Management. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill. To appear 1994Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Hihn & H. Habib-agahi: Cost Estimation of Software Intensive Projects: a Survey of Current Practices. in: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Software Engineering, May 13–17 1991. Austin, Texas: IEEE PressGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    T. Peters: Thriving on Chaos, a Handbook for Management Revolution. New york: Alfred A. Knopf 1987Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    H. Petroski: To Engineer is Human. New York: St. Martin's Press 1982Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    S. Sitkin: Learning Through Failure; the strategy of Small Losses: Unpublished report. University of Texas 1990Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    S. White et al.: Improving the Practice in CBSE: State of Practice Working Group Special Report: IEEE Computer Society CBSE Task ForceGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    A. Wildavsky: Searching for Safety. New Brunswick: Transaction publishers 1988Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darren Dalcher
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ComputingSouth Bank UniversityLondonEngland

Personalised recommendations