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In 1628, the newest ship in the Royal Swedish Navy took its maiden voyage. After sailing about 1,300 meters, a light gust of wind caused the Vasa to capsize. The reasons that the Vasa was constructed to be unstable, and the reasons it was launched when known to be unstable, are as relevant to our modern-day attempts to build large, complex software systems as they were to the 17th-century art and craft of building warships. This article describes the problems encountered in that project, interprets them in terms of modern software projects, and presents some antidotes for those problems.