Precedent from the 17th century . . .

Vasa a Symbol of Weak Project Management

by Conrad Weisert
October 26, 2013
© 2013 Information Disciplines, Inc.

By coincidence Chicago area computing professionals heard two presentations this month that cited the highly "advanced" Swedish warship Vasa that sank in Stockholm harbor in 1628 just minutes into its maiden voyage.

As far as we know, Scott Meyers and Philip Armour didn't confer on this; they came up with the Vasa analogy independently, but it's an apt one. Those who are acquainted with the Vasa story find this a fairly obvious comparison. It's likely, therefore, that the Vasa will turn up regularly in future discussions of software project management.

I have visited the Vasa exhibit and recommend it to any visitor to Scandinavia. In order to preserve the wood, which was immersed in salt water for centuries, the exhibit hall is kept extremely humid, so dress accordingly. —CW

Clarification from a Reader

From:   James Kanze <>
Subject:   Re: New in November
Date:   November 17, 2013 12:24:30 PM CST
To:     Conrad Weisert

Concerning the Wasa (or Vasa):

Stroustrup used this story to argue against extensions to C++ at least as early as 1992 and it's familiar to anyone who's been involved in the C++ standardization effort. (For some reason, it seems to have been forgotten in the C++ standardization committee today.)—James

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Last modified October 27, 2013