I spent last week sailing. As the captain of a boat, one of the biggest dangers is that small problems can quickly result in mistakes that generate bigger problems. At one point we lost the boat hook, a pole with a hook on it that is used to pick up a mooring (a rope attached to a permanently installed anchor). This small problem resulted in an attempt to anchor in a place nearby so that we could retrieve the boat hook. Unfortunately the wind was strong and the anchor would not hold. This could have resulted in the boat drifting into shore. The result is that the loss of a $20 item could have resulted in the damage or loss of a boat worth several hundred thousand dollars. I finally saw that the risk of retrieving the boat hook was too great and proceeded to a safe dock in a harbor for the night.
The same can happen in software development. Extra care needs to be used after a small setback. Focusing too much on a fixing a small problem can result in the project going off course and onto the rocks! Often the best solution is a new approach to the problem. One of the benefits of Agile is that when one approach fails, the project can easily adapt to a new approach.
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