The latest Microsoft Development Disaster is that Windows Vista is going to be Delayed until Jan 2007Scoble’s not commenting before he hears the factsMini-Microsft is calling for people’s heads.  This announcement puts me into a quandry…  I agree with Mini, but as a software developer, slipping is what we do…
First off, I applaud Microsoft for slipping their schedule rather than shipping a bad product.  People will quickly get over a product that slips *IF* the quality and features are worth the wait.  The number of PCs that Windows runs on is staggering.  The issues that the OS has to deal with is *incredible*.  Just being able to work with the multiple languages boggles my mind.  It take a *LOT* of work to verify that drivers work, and that the software runs correctly.
Now, for the dark side…  Software development slips.  It’s a fact of life.  Look at how many other products slip.  I work for a home builder, which is an industry where schedule slips are a daily fact of life.  People don’t get fired over when a specific house schedule slips.  They do get fired for not completing a minimum number of houses in a time frame.  I unfortunately have to agree with Mini that some heads should roll.  Major features in Vista have been watered down and/or removed compleletly to ‘meet the schedule’.  Missing this deadline is a major thing for the computer companies.  The winter holiday season is the biggest buying season of computers.  Not only are home users buying new computers, but businesses are buying to fill out their budgets for the end-of-year.  Missing this season is huge.
I predict that we are going to see a major coupon initiative, like what happened with Windows 95.  ‘Buy now, get the Vista upgrade for free!’  Mark my words, that you will see those coupons by October/November.
Ok, I’ve digressed from my original thought to rant about Vista.  Back to my serious thoughts…
Here’s my question… How does one ‘win’ at software development?  Requirements are fluid.  Hardware is fluid.  The tools we use are fluid.  The user’s expectations are fluid.  Which means that developers that actually complete tasks are walking on water. (Ok, bad joke)  It seems that even more important than delivering software is managing the customer’s expectations.  Customers get tired of vendors that overpromise and underdeliver.  Hmmm, I’m beginning to sound like Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowle’s book, Raving Fans.
I’ll be writing up my thoughts on how to solve some of these problems soon…
Stay tuned!

One thought on “How do you ‘win’ at software development?

  1. Hmm, I’d definately go for the coupon idea.  I need to go ‘legal’ with my WinXP anyway and if I could do that and get Vista ‘free’, I’d do it!

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