Re: Content Moratorium

Subject: Re: Content Moratorium
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 13:38:52 -0800

Andrew Plato wrote:

> The notion that there is some perfect line from code, to testing, to
> documentation, to release is really nice - for a business plan or executive BS
> session. In reality, even the "grown-up" firms can't maintain this down in the
> trenches.

Everything Andrew says is true, except for one thing: left to
themselves, the average group of programmers will tinker endlessly.
That's why, of all the thousands of open source and free software
projects being done around the world, only a small percentage ever
gets to a 1.0 release. In my experience, the average programmer
doesn't care about business; he (since the average programmer is
male) is mostly concerned with writing elegant code and thinking up
nifty new features - in a word, in having fun.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this attitude. When I'm doing
documentation, I feel much the same way. However, having a company
run on programmers' schedules is as disastrous as trying to run it
marketings' or executives' schedules.

If a company wants to survive beyond the last dollar of its venture
capital, it needs to strike a balance the demands of business and
the work habits of developers; finding this balance should be
considered the core of a product manager's job.

A release date can be thought of as an actuarial decision: at one
point is it cheaper to release the software and absorb the costs of
technical support for the remaining bugs and the damage done by bad
reviews than to have the developers tinker for another week or two?
>From this perspective, releasing too soon is as bad as releasing too

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"I never felt myself along, nor truly felt afraid,
Until the hour I understood, by friends we are betrayed,
Whose precious mouths are stopped with food, who cannot meet our
Who laugh abut their principles and brush them off like flies."
- Oysterband, "Moving On"


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