The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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An emergency Fire engine responds to an emergency with in London, England.
Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Large, costly government IT project failures often create an immediate sensation in the media, but they quickly fall out of public notice as soon another failure grabs attention. However, in many cases, the failure’s after-effects linger for years afterward; but these are little reported. Below are five such IT project failures that have happened in the past decade, and a quick synopsis of how the ramifications of each are still being felt today.

UK FiReControl Project

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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