January 14, 2008

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Proof That Value Has Little To Do With Quality?

I stumbled across a news piece over the weekend about a guy who built a dating web site in 2003 just so he could learn ASP.NET, and he now makes more than $10 million a year from advertising.

The bit that leapt off the page for me was this:

"But his site, now almost five years old, has some unfinished patches and irritating quirks and seems to come from the Anti-Perfectionist School of Design."

There is an object lesson in value here. Namely that it has little if anything to do with how well-designed or expertly crafted the software is. How much a piece of software will end up being worth is very unpredictable.

In business IT, how often do the flagship systems end up gathering dust on a file server somewhere while some two-bit MS Excel spreadsheet some accountant knocked up in an afternoon ends up running the entire show?

As professionals, we have no real control over the ultimate value of the software we create. And neither do our customers, or requirements analysts, or product owners, or whoever it is who's been charged with figuring out what the best use of the budget would be. It's all guesswork, like choosing lottery numbers or selecting which horse to bet on.

And for our friend with the ASP.NET dating site, the fun is just beginning. Advertisers will no doubt want to see him keeping pace with developments in the market, and if his code really is a bit of a mess then he will find it hard and expensive to make the necessary changes.

But somehow I doubt very much that he gives a sh*t. Would you?

Posted 14 years, 11 months ago on January 14, 2008