Software is an extraordinarily paper intensive industry. The overall volume of paper documents surrounding software projects is one of the largest of any manufactured product in human experience.... For very large military software projects, the total volume of paper documents can exceed 1,000,000 pages. What is astonishing about paperwork volumes for very large systems is that the specifications and technical documents may be large enough to go beyond the normal lifetime reading speed of a single analyst! Assuming a technical reading speed of about 200 words per minute, there are some systems where an employee could work for an entire 40-year career doing nothing but reading plans and specifications without ever finishing.
One of the most visible instances of a steep and protracted learning curve is that associated with various flavors of object-oriented analysis and design. The learning curve for OO analysis and design is so steep that roughly 50 percent of the projects attempting to use this approach for the first time abandon it before completion, or bring in older methods to supplement the OO approach in order to complete the project.
Projects that aim from the beginning at achieving the shortest possible schedules regardless of quality considerations, tend to have the fairly high frequencies of both schedule and cost overruns. Software projects that aim initially at achieving the highest possible levels of quality and reliability tend to have the best schedule adherence records, the highest productivity, and even the best marketplace success.