C++ classes do not intrinsically inherit from a base class unlike in Java where ALL classes intrinsically inherit from Object. In C++ you _could_ create this behavior but you need to explicitly inherit from some implementation of Object or whatever.
Also the ideas of "we can just fix it in software" and "what do you mean the software isn't ready? we got the hardware in today and we're on a really tight schedule!" don't help matters any.
You are right, though, the biggest problem is a lack of useful requirements, specifications, and other assorted documentation.