Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Enterprise Architecture: Determining when software is good enough...

In my experience, "good enough" always includes hacks, sloppiness, bad commenting and spaghetti hell thus leads to lack of scalability, bugs, lagginess and prevents others from being able to build effectively on your work...

There are at least two aspects of quality that we have to take into account:

software quality: does the software meet the desired goals/requirements? do we deliver builds which have critical bugs? is it easy for end users to operate?
code quality: how hard is it to maintain the code? is it easy to implement new features?
If you're building a productized software, I think it is good to assume that it's never good enough in both aspects. Every little feature counts and if the users will not find what they need or the product is not stable enough, they will take a look at the competition. You also want to implement new features as quickly as possible, so that you have a competitive advantage in the market.

The situation gets interesting if you're building custom business software, where the end users and decision makers are usually not the same people, then the features/quality/money trade off becomes part of the negotiation process. What we usually do is we put "good enough" constraint on these three aspects: we have a set of requirements to meet, a quality to maintain and usually not enough time to keep both.

What is usually forgotten in this process is the second point: code quality or maintainability. We, programmers understand that sooner or latter crappy code will take its revenge and result in critical bugs or maintance costs. Decision makers don't. The problem is, the responsibility and risks are taken by you (your company, your division etc.) and you will be first to blame if something goes wrong.

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