Software projects are quite often compared to other scenarios, like building a house or a car. I've often heard the claim that time estimates, planning or defect management are so much better in those other areas of engineering. But they are not true, in my opinion.
How many programmers do you know, who ever did some "real world engineering"? If you are a software developer, have you ever built something with your own hands? During the last 5 years, I've build a lot of stuff which was not software, and I can recommend to try it out: It is different to the process of building software, but you learn a lot which you can also re-use for your programming skills, interestingly.
For example, during the last 2 or 3 weekends, I build this thing here:
It is just a simple wall, a walk-in closet. But it is complex enough, and you need a bit of planning for it. When I built something like
this the first time, and did something wrongly, I thought "Damn! There is no Undo button". There is also no copy and paste or version control
system, so you need to do that project a little bit more differently than a software project.
But there are also a lot of similarities: Time and resource estimates are nearly always completely wrong. In the beginning usually by a
factor 2, by my experience. But it gets better. It also doesn't matter if you are doing the project or parts of it yourself or are
outsourcing it. It will usually take longer. And more money then anticipated. Also, there will be bugs. And the way they are fixed will
not always be the correct one.
Basically, things I learned from building "real world stuff" is that planning and re-using is much more important than for software. Also, I think the way I am doing software projects has been improved quite a bit since I started building stuff like this. It is also a nice way to 'relax' from a thinking intensive programming session. So I can really recommend trying to do some DIY projects from time to time.