Thursday, March 16, 2006

The money pit

Maybe Tom Hanks will stop by and inadvertently bring along some Coders with him?

Washington papal center became costly dream

In 2004, Vassallo, the donor from Woodhaven, visited the center with his wife and teenage grandson. They found the parking lot and galleries so empty they were unsure whether the center was open.

A guard said it was fine to walk around, so they wandered through displays of papal memorabilia, including a pair of Pope John Paul's skis. They weren't impressed with much else.

"That makes me so sad for Maida," Vassallo said. "I think he never should have gotten all caught up in that aura in Washington. He should have just stayed home and spent more of his time as the cardinal of Detroit."

The part about the foul-up over a climate-controlled gallery is instructive. If the purpose (or one of the main purposes) is to build a North American branch of the Vatican Museums, I think you'd build the building around the works of art rather than build the art once you have the building... I'm not an architect or a general contractor, but it just seems like the horse ought to pull the cart, not push it.

In software design, there is always a problem with 'feature creep', where each successive version of a piece of software has more and more features than the previous version. These features don't necessarily add to the software and all too often slow it down and make it buggy. The lesson of feature creep can be applied to anything, including massive papal centers with no clear mission statement.

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