During the late 1960s and 1970s, there was an outcry over an impending software crisis. The symptoms of such a crisis surfaced then and are present even today. The symptoms are the following:
1. Software cost has shown a rising trend, outstripping the hardware cost. Boehm (1976, 1981) indicated that since the fifties, the percentage of total cost of computation attributable to hardware has dramatically reduced and that attributable to software has correspondingly increased. Whereas software cost was only a little over 20% in the 1950’s, it was nearly 60% in the 1970’s, and about 80% in the 1980’s. Today, the computer system that we buy as ‘hardware’ has generally cost the vendor about three times as much for the software as it has for the hardware (Pressman 1992).
2. Software maintenance cost has been rising and has surpassed the development cost. Boehm (1981) has shown that the bulk of the software cost is due to its maintenance rather than its development.
3. Software is almost always delivered late and exceeds the budgeted cost, indicating time and
4. It lacks transparency and is difficult to maintain.
5. Software quality is often less than adequate.
6. It often does not satisfy the customers.
7. Productivity of software people has not kept pace with the demand of their services.
8. Progress on software development is difficult to measure.
9. Very little real-world data is available on the software development process. Therefore, it has not been possible to set realistic standards.
10. How the persons work during the software development has not been properly understood. One of the earliest works that explained to a great extent the causes of software crisis is by Brooks (1972). We shall get in the next section a glimpse of the work of Brooks.