Five Year Plans

Welcome to the new software process, same as the old software process.
I have been a developer for close to three decades now and have seen this process happen too many times.

I know I am not the first to express these ideas, but this is my take on what I call "five year plan" usually proposed by a VP level manager type being.

Year one - Gather list of all kinds of disparate and imperfect (but working) systems throughout your domain and propose "The New Thing(tm)" that will unite all the various divisions and data gathering into one new tool that will "Solve Everything(tm)". Start gathering requirements by figuring out what all the various tools do. Occasionally ask if there is a reason there are different tools for different tasks, but usually not.

Year two - Finish gathering requirements. Usually hire new team to develop New Tool since the current in-house team is busy keeping the old systems running and otherwise doing current work. (Insert many "Highly Paid Consultants(tm)").

Year three - New tool starts showing some signs of life and absorbs a few of the other tools, occasionally successfully. Old in-house team often has to pop up new small tools to catch needs not met when New Tool takes over some other older tool's tasks.

Year four - Usually v1.0 of the new tool now exists. It does not do everything, but it has absorbed several of the other tools. Momentum starts to slow as they realize just how disparate all the other tools are and how unifying them is not working as well as they would have liked.

Year five - Victory is proclaimed. The New Tool does not do everything, but it does a few things ok enough that the VP can be satisfied and it will look good on their resume now that they are looking for the next job to jump to.

Employees are left trying to figure out how to integrate New Tool into their jobs. Lots of tools still exist outside of the New Tool and they have to be modified to incorporate how the New Tool does things.

Dozens of other small tools were created in the interim to solve various small problems that could not be addressed because all energy was being focused on New Tool.

Year six (new year one) - A new VP comes in and has a great idea on how to take that Old New Tool and rebuild it to encompass all the other tools including the many small tools that were created in the last 5 years.