> In my opinion, all parties (developers, employers, > customers) in this industry need to attain a further level > of maturity. I personally have seen customers who "get > it", and opt for quality over price. But they are the > minority. I'm afraid the majority are "spoilt" by vendors > producing software too quickly and cheaply, favouring > speed over quality, that we are forever stuck to the > produce-crappy-code, maintain-crappy-code cycle...
I've thought along the same lines for years: The ultimate challenge facing the software business is education, particularly customer education. If customers and (some) management types could be persuaded that job X is actually more expensive and time-consuming than they think it is, the whole domain of bogus schedules and underfunded projects could be nipped in the bud.
A long time ago, Fast Company magazine had a great article called "They Write the Right Stuff" (see http://www.fastcompany.com/online/06/writestuff.html). I took two points away from this article: 1. Writing good quality software is about the process of writing software, not the code itself, or tools, or anything else. 2. Good quality software takes a breathtaking amount of money and time to produce.
To put this another way: Having been on a number of "doomed" projects, I've always wondered if there was a point where someone could have said "No, it will cost more/take longer than that." or "I'm sorry, but I can't promise to deliver this for that price/in that time", therefore eliminating all of the nonsense of shipping code that isn't really done and doesn't do what it's supposed to do since nobody's had the time to study what it's supposed to do.
Another thought I've had is perhaps we need to change the compensation models used for marketing people. In many/most cases, I assume that the marketing people who are having conversations with customers are paid at the time that the customer signs a contract or places an order. Their incentive then, is to get contracts signed and orders placed. They do not have an incentive to ensure that the schedule/price is realistic, and they have even less reason to consider how the product is going to be produced or delivered by the software people.
Why not have marketing be paid 50% of their commission when the contract is signed, and the other 50% when the product is delivered and accepted by the customer (or adjust this ratio as needed for a particular circumstance)?
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