[lug] Developer abuse

David Morris lists at morris-clan.net
Tue Nov 16 12:34:56 MST 2004

On Mon, Nov 15, 2004 at 06:45:06PM -0700, Timothy Klein wrote:
> On Monday 15 November 2004 06:28 pm, David Morris wrote:
> > Now, the project hasn't gone completely smoothly because the
> > overall project (building the payload for a sattelite) ran
> > into some fundamental hardware problems and the customer (we
> > are a contractor) ran out of money for a short bit,
> Ah, see, you gave it away.  I now see why your project
> went so well.  Certain industries (like space vehicles)
> tend to take things very seriously, and plan software
> right (or maybe you just work for an independent firm that
> got picked because your company knew how to do it).
> From my (very) limited experience, the culture that
> demands doing things right (with respect to software)
> simply does not exist in a large part of the American
> business world.

You are right, the Aerospace industry takes its work very
seriously because a bug could potentially transform a
billion-dollar piece of hardware into another piece of junk.
Yet this fact doesn't make software written for a sattelite
any better quality than the standard software which has bugs
everywhere and comes in over-budget and behind schedule.
I've worked on or seen plenty of projects that had severe
problems to the point that the entire project was canceled
because the software was so poorly managed.

What made the difference is one person who was given
complete freedom to do the job the right way, someone who
knew exactly what it would take to do the project the right

What has to change in the software industry is that
management must see the people who work on software as
Software Engineers (and all the word "Engineer" entails)
rather than as programmers and hackers who produce code.
With software so prevelant in everything, this will happen
naturally, though the change is a slow process.

-- David

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