What Is Silver Bullet Syndrome?

By Kelvin O'Donahue

Silver Bullet Syndrome is a management or development malady first described in computer programming, although the syndrome is not confined to workers in that field.


Silver Bullet Syndrome is the belief that the next big change in tools, resources or procedures will miraculously or magically solve all of an organization’s problems. This assumption is almost invariably erroneous.


The term is thought to be a reference to the silver bullets carried by the radio-television western hero the Lone Ranger. His appearance in town invariably led to the removal of the crooked mayor, brutal sheriff or other villain, almost always with but one shot fired.


Management’s insistence that installing the latest web-based customer relation management system will immediately pull the division out of its downward spiral – like magic.