Re: The software factory (was "Don't believe the hype?") (long)

Subject: Re: The software factory (was "Don't believe the hype?") (long)
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 08:59:09 -0500

Mike O. deconstructed my post and poked at some of my underlying points. I respond thusly:

>> Both [the hand-tooled sports car and the ubiquitous Toyota] are still made - they each have their own markets.

True. I was thinking of the Porsche, which really *was* hand-made--no two Porsches are alike. You can buy Porsches; you can still buy hand-thrown pots, too. How much does the hand-made product cost? What's the market share? Perhaps handmade products are almost entirely supplanted in the market, not entirely replaced. This does not change my point.

>> [Microsoft is] [desperately] resisting commoditization.

Perhaps you have a different definition of the word "commodity" in mind. My point is that Microsoft has sold millions of identical units, which they do not customize or tune by hand. They have made software a commodity.

>> [Microsoft does not really have a chance to survive] on the current business model, and they know it. They will
>> survive only by virtue of their cash on hand, and changing their business model.

I doubt that the software we buy ten years from now will be built individually by hand, don't you?

>> Trends are just that - trends. Ten years ago the 'trend' was toward CASE
>> tools which would automatically generate code and put programmers out of work.

Yes, trends are trends. Don't confuse "trends" with "fads." There's been a strong trend away from typewriters and towards computer-based desktop publishing, too. Fad, or trend?

>> Repeating successful IT projects is like weather forecasting. If you have
>> enough data points, and enough processing power, you can predict every gust
>> of wind for the next year. But nobody puts that amount of effort into
>> planning and predicting IT projects; therefore tech managers are often
>> surprised when it rains.

I don't understand you here. I wasn't talking about IT projects, but documentation projects. Are you always surprised when a documentation project succeeds?


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