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A new-found respect March 9, 2007

Posted by gcorbin in Commentary.

Over the past year, I’ve found myself cast into a new dual role position at the company I work for. I spend half my time designing and coding application features and I spend the other half doing project management. I’ve always been a hard-core programmer in the past and had no interest in concerning myself with any management aspects of the job, but now with my new-found role, I find that there are many challenges and ideas with the management side of the business that interest me. I’ve recently read a classic project management book called “the mythical man-month”. The book discusses many concepts and ideas of how to make software development more of a science and less of an art. These topics got me to think about many questions I’ve never asked myself before. The most interesting question I find myself thinking about is: What is the true measure of quality software? Is it customer satisfaction? Or highly extensible code? Or low bug counts? Or perhaps all three of these?  I spent some time pondering this question. Thinking about my past experiences and what I’ve heard from fellow co-workers. I think that the answer to this question depends on your point of view.


If you’re a hard-core programmer and really enjoy the art of software engineering, then the answer is:  Quality Software is measured by its high extensibility, and ease of maintenance, and lack of bugs.


If you’re a project manager, then the answer is: Quality Software is measured by its completeness in requirements and done in a precisely predict set amount of time.


If you’re a business manager, then the answer is: Quality Software is measured by its ability to be done on time and most of all, generates high profits.


Ultimately, the most important measure of Quality Software is the business manager’s answer. If the software does not generate profits, then no one is buying it. If no one buys it, no one uses it and no one gets paid. This lead me to another difficult question. Has software become a new type of consumer product? A type of paper cup?



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