How to not get the software you want

There is a famous set of drawings that ends with a picture of tire hanging from a tree and the words underneath "What the customer really wanted". It is called the tree swing meme / story. It crops up in many places in project management and software engineering.

Many meanings are taken from this simple diagram including:
  • the problem of Chinese Whispers
  • poor specification
  • the lack of shared understanding

However, above all these individual issues there is one overall truth:

Projects involving groups of people are hard to complete on time and on budget

Knowing this why do we insist on sabotaging projects through poor communication?