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Quality Over Timing Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2011 9:24 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Quality Over Timing






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Post #1075286
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10:17 PM


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Cool picture that, ironically, lives up to what I think of a lot of software vendors that write T-SQL have done and still do... take a look at the printing flaw in the lower right corner of the imprint on the paper. Heh... "BUG!".

I'm still finding that software, either custom built or shrink wrapped, ummmm.... sucks. Even MS blew it on many things in the GUI's of SQL Server 2005 (IMHO) and those same mistakes and shortcomings bled into 2008. Of course, MS isn't the only one that has this problem. People (read that as mostly "managers" and "leads") just don't know how to plan and many Developers still operate under the premise that QA will catch any faults and take the shortcut of not actually testing their own code for both "happy" and "unhappy" paths. Many Developers are still of the ilk that they've been given an assignment and they just want to get it off their proverbial plate.

Until those attitudes change and much better planning skills are realized, a lot of software will continue to make the same sucking noises under the pressure of delivery schedule that have plagued our industry since it first started.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1075300
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1:56 AM
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Ok, sure, you're totally right: in my dream world everithing would function as you described in your editorial.
But from my personal perspective of 'one man army' independent developer (recently two man army as I took up an apprentice )the biggest issue remains this: my customers for the most part do not know what they want from custom made software BUT they want it really fast.
In the last years I developed quite a good skill at mind reading but it is not always enough, moreover about 60% of times when I propose a certain approach to a problem it is rejected only to be reconsidered and approved when the project is nearing completion and this mean rushing to re-write tons of code in no time.
The sad thing is (from my point of view) that if you enter in the equation the little fact that at the end of the day you have to eat something to keep going on and to eat you must have money to pay for your food... well you certainly see where this is going don't you?
I really don' t know how it is in the US but here in Italy, for a whole lot of hystorical reasons, the people who will use the software simply seem not to trust enough the people who design and write it, every minor change to the routine procedures of how thing are made seems at first like a Copernican revolution to the users and I think this is the real issue that lurks at the bottom of the software quality problem.
It' not all dark: during the last decade things have improved a bit but I fear we will have to wait another decade before users and customers evolve to a point where they can begin to talk seriously with us about designing and planning of the applications we are going to write for them.
Post #1075380
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:01 AM


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Projects have project managers (ugh!) and they impose deadlines. That leads to compromise, so I'd say ideally you don't compromise on quality but ultimately it's imposed on you.

Having said that, some programmers I've worked with would take until the ends of time give the chance!
Post #1075381
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:27 AM


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Stefano Padovan (3/9/2011)
Ok, sure, you're totally right: in my dream world everithing would function as you described in your editorial. But from my personal perspective of 'one man army' independent developer (recently two man army as I took up an apprentice )the biggest issue remains this: my customers for the most part do not know what they want from custom made software BUT they want it really fast.


This has also been my experience as well. There was never enough time to do it right from the beginning for the customer, but there was always time enough to spend hours on end fixing it or redoing it. Many government oriented operations, as well as private companies, do business this way on a regular basis. Real world.


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1075413
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:39 AM
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There was never enough time to do it right from the beginning for the customer, but there was always time enough to spend hours on end fixing it or redoing it.


And what about spending months waiting for the customer to decide he really needs some piece of software only to discover that when he finally give the start on the project it should really have been ready yesterday ?
But you normally can't say to a customer of yours that bad planning on his part does not translate in emergency on your part...
Post #1075416
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 5:21 AM


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Stefano Padovan (3/9/2011)
There was never enough time to do it right from the beginning for the customer, but there was always time enough to spend hours on end fixing it or redoing it.


But you normally can't say to a customer of yours that bad planning on his part does not translate in emergency on your part...


Nope, I've used that on many occassions in the past with users, customers, and managers, but it has never stopped them from doing it again and again. A lot of management just tends to work in firehose mode nowadays, and I have even seen owners of companies that actually endorse and encourage it too. Like I have said many times before. unless true change is embraced from the top down, it never ever works in the long run.


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1075453
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 5:52 AM


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Oddly enough, I don't blame the customers. On the jobs where I've been able to contact the customer directly instead of through a PM, I've been able to convince them that it really is in their best, long term interest with THEIR customers to do things right the first time.

Someday I'm going to have to open a development shop of my own where the slogan is, "If you want it real bad, we won't let you have it that way."


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1075470
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:01 AM
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I believe this is the emerging challenge of balancing expectations, between immediate satisfaction and long-term value. Today, masses of people will pull up to a drive through, place an order and expect a meal costing $6.00 to be returned in approximately 2 minutes. We're mad if it takes longer than 2 minutes, if we're asked to pull aside, or, heaven forbid, they included the secret sauce we so loathe.

The "pressure of immediacy" seems to be literally changing our concept of time. Are the posts you make to Facebook, Twitter, etc, so urgent they must be delivered throughout the day?

This dynamic is further challenged my our innate tendency to cooperate and to avoid conflict. Our society is falling into two categories where seem to operate in a mode of passive compliance or radical revolt. Our ability to offer intelligent, constructive discourse seems to be ebbing away. (http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_strogatz_on_sync.html)

Then, of course, there is consideration of the cost paradigm. Its challenging to counter this, eventhough logic suggests that long-term value represents real value. This challenge may be best expressed by one of my most favorite Dilbert cartoon.

[url=<a href="http://dilbert.comhttp://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-03-16/" title="Dilbert.com"><img src="http://dilbert.com" border="0" alt="Dilbert.com" /></a>][/url]

Thank you for the editorial. I believe its a topic worthy of continued discussion.
Post #1075479
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:07 AM


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As a big Sci-Fiction fan, one of the things I hate with a passion is how any movie with computers (and software) in it always shows things working perfectly. There is never a blue screen, never an unhandled exception, never a crash...

In the real world, in the last 15-20 years software quality has gone out the window finally relenting to sales and release deadlines. How did this happen? "Service packs" and automatic updates. In other words, things are delivered untested, unfinished, and we all then just accept that the next service pack or service release will fix things - or in other words, give us what we actually paid for.

Don't you wish just once that our entertainment would reflect that? In the last Die Hard movie, Timothy Olyphant directs his rogue crew to tinker power grids, gas pipelines and all sorts of things that in the real world... Well, if the movie were truthful, Olyphant would have threatened and then tried to tinker these things, but get a message he needed to download the latest service pack.

Worse, imagine if other industries worked the way software did. Imagine buying food, poisoning your family, and then calling the CDC or someone and having them ask - "Did you download the latest version of that Lean Cuisine dinner?"...

Once we start accepting this kind of thing it become inevitable we will move in the wrong direction - as we are. What we call "quality" these days - well, there was a day when things were delivered "ready" - now? You could get a blank CD, install nothing, and then call the company and have them ask "Did you download the service pack?" - and THAT would be the actual software you purchased...

Brave new world indeed - in fact, its the old world, circa 1800 or back.


There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
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