I was researching a vendor today and came across a limit of “200 pages”*. What likely happened was some technical person in their organization figured that telling customers that 200 is a limit will avoid problems.
Was there formal research on the 200 number? Probably not. Would 150 or 250 been better? That probably wasn’t formally evaluated.
But what happens over time? The 200 gets communicated to marketing and customer service and becomes baked into the vendor’s culture. Those beyond the original technical person probably don’t know the real reason for the 200 limit. Eventually this limit just becomes a mysterious number that no one knows where it came from.
It may not be true any more. Things change and, unless we go back and reverify, limits stay in place.
There is a software developer guideline that you don’t program arbitrary limits in your software. But we don’t think about limits in our organizations. Limits that have been created in the past but may not be valid any more.
Whenever I see a technical limit, I always wonder if it is real or historical. Hard to tell sometimes.
*the vendor and product/service don’t matter so I am not including them.