It geheim fan 'e softwareyndustry

De FerkeaperIt's an exciting time to be in the software industry. With the dot com boom and bust, and now “web 2.0” and social networking in the mainstream, we're still in our infancy but growing up.

On a grade level, I'd say we're probably around the 9th grade. We're still uncomfortable in our skin, we get excited by the the software that looks a little ‘overdeveloped', and we're just starting to build friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Consumers are finally getting serious with our software. Product managers are finally getting some good taste – complimenting a great product with good design that's sales and marketing worthy.

That said, the fallacy of the software purchase still exists. When you buy a new car, you generally know that it's going to be comfortable, ride well, how it corners and how it accelerates just from the test drive. If you read about it in an auto magazine by a great journalist, you get a real feeling about how the car is going to feel before you ever get in it.

Software has test drives and reviews as well, but they never live up to our expectations, do they? Part of the problem is that, while cars go forward, backward and have doors and wheels, software doesn't follow the same rules… and nor do any two people use it alike. It isn't until we're mired in our day to day work that we figure out what's ‘missing' with the application. It's missed when it was designed. It's missed when it was developed. And worst, it's always missed in the sale.

This is because you and I don't buy software for how we're going to use it. Often times, we don't actually buy it at all – someone buys it for us. The software we use is often mandated due to a corporate relationship, discount, or the manner in which it interacts with our other systems. It amazes me how many times that companies have a robust purchasing process, certification requirements, service level agreements, security compliance, operating system compatibility… but no one actually uses de applikaasje oant lang nei de oankeap en ymplemintaasje.

It's, perhaps, one of the reasons why pirating software is so rampant. I don't want to even count how many thousands of dollars of software I've purchased that I used and gave up on, and never used again.

De werjefte fan it softwarebedriuw

The view from the software company is quite different altogether! Though our applications usually fix a primary problem and that's why people pay for it… there are so many tertiary issues out there that we have to take into consideration when developing it.

  • Hoe sjocht it derút? - yn tsjinstelling ta populêr leauwen, software is a beauty contest. I can point to dozens of applications that should ‘own' the market but don't even make the cut because they lack the aesthetics that grab the headlines.
  • Hoe ferkeapet it? - soms binne funksjes yn 'e hannel, mar net echt sa nuttich. Yn 'e e-postsektor wie d'r in skoft in grutte druk foar RSS. Everyone was asking for it but only a couple Email Service Providers had it. The funny thing is, a year later, and it's still not adopted in the mainstream by email marketers. It's one of those features that are marketable, but not really useful (yet).
  • Hoe feilich is it? – this is one of those ‘small' items that are overlooked but can always sink a deal. As software providers, we should always strive for security and have it backed up through independent audits. Not doing so is irresponsible.
  • Hoe stabyl is it? – surprisingly, stability is not something that's purchased – but it will make your life miserable if it's an issue. Stability is key to an application's reputation and profitability. The last thing you want to do is hire people to overcome stability issues. Stability is also a key strategy that should be at the foundation of every application. If you don't have a stable foundation, you're building a home that will one day crumble and fall.
  • Hokker probleem makket it op? - dit is wêrom jo de software nedich binne en oft it jo bedriuw helpt of net. Ynsjoch yn it probleem en it ûntwikkeljen fan 'e oplossing is wêrom't wy alle dagen oan it wurk geane.

The secret of the software industry is that we DO NOT sell, buy, build, market and use software well. We have a long way to go before we graduate someday and do it all consistently. To last in this industry, companies often have to develop features and security to sell, but sacrifice usability and stability. It's a dangerous game. I look forward to the next decade and hope that we've matured enough to gain the right balance.

3 Comments

  1. 1

    Ien fan 'e swierste fragen dy't ik ea moat beantwurdzje is: "As jo ​​it software engineering neame, wêrom kinne jo gjin deterministyske útkomsten hawwe foar jo projekten."

    Myn antwurd is gelyk oan wêr't jo hjir oer prate. Dit is in gloednije sektor. It duorre ús tûzenen jierren om werom te kommen wêr't de Romeinen mei yngenieur wiene. Ien fan myn favorite mominten yn Itaalje wie it Pantheon yn Rome besykje en it gat te sjen wêr't Brunelleschi nei alle gedachten in gat snie om út te finen hoe't de Romeinen sa'n grutte koepel opsetten (as hy besocht út te finen hoe't de Duomo yn Florence ôf wie ).

    Wy binne in jonge dissipline en it sil tiid duorje foardat wy kwaliteitssoftware op in konsistente manier kinne produsearje. Dêrom wurde ûntwikkelders noch altyd sjoen as soarten tsjoenders. Wy moatte safolle kontrolearje as wy kinne (funksje-krûp, wêrtroch marketeers software-arsjitektuer kinne ride, min behear), mar wy kinne it feit net skodzje dat guon software it hawwe en wat net. Oant dan is dit gouden spits tiid!

  2. 2

    It te ûntwikkele konsept is sa wier yn Web 2.0. It liket derop dat in protte bedriuwen wurde makke om 1 produkt dat jo net tinke soene in heul bedriuw yn steat wêze kinne ... dan wurdt it oernommen (wat geweldich is foar it bedriuw) of it fizelt út nei minimale fêststelling.

  3. 3

    Ik bin it folslein iens mei it idee dat de softwareindustry net folslein hat ûntwikkele oant it nivo wêrop't it moat wêze foardat it kin kontrolearje dat de software is ferdield nei de konsumint. Ik bedoel dat it folslein korrekt is as jo sizze dat software by elke konsumint oars wurdt brûkt en dat it altyd net elkenien foldocht. It idee fan pirateare software ûntstiet fanwegen dizze ûntefredenens fan konsumint, om't jo gelyk hawwe dat jo safolle jild betelje foar in software en it brûke en dernei opjaan en it noait wer brûke en ik tink dat dit idee net past as jo prate oer jild útjaan op eat dat lang net wêze sil. Uteinlik is it idee wier oant wy konsekwint kinne wêze yn it keapjen, bouwen, marketing, en it brûken fan software kinne wy ​​dizze ferkearde ideeën net stopje fan opkommende.

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