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Reasons for Fire Fighting in Projects (Computer Project)

This work is a study examining the causes of fire fighting in software projects. Fire fighting is the practice of reactive management, i.e. focus being put at solving the problem of the moment. The study in the thesis is performed in two parts, one part is a literature study examining what academia considers as the reasons of fire fighting and how to minimise the problem.

The other part of the thesis is an interview series performed in the industry with the purpose of finding what they consider the causes of the fire fighting phenomena. What is indicated by the interview series, as being the main causes of the problems are problems that are related to requirements, and problems caused by persons with key knowledge leaving the project.


The background of this master thesis project is an observation that today several software developing organisations are continuously facing unexpected problems, leading them to focus on the solution of the problem at the moment rather than the project as a whole. Often the quick and necessary solutions to the problems lead to new problems, and the situation escalates into a vicious circle of continuous problem solving. This behaviour of focusing on the problem at the moment trying to save the situation can be compared to that of extinguishing a fire, therefore the expression of fire fighting.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Author: Ask, Anna Vikström

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