Chapter 3 – Wasting Money
“It’s harder than you might think to squander millions of dollars, but a flawed software-development process is a tool well suited for the job”.
…Instead, all they [software products] have is alist of features. A shopping bag filled with flour, sugar, milk and eggs is not the same thing as a cake.”
“Managers know that software development follows Parkinson’s Law: Work will expand to fill the time allote to it. (…) corollary to Parkinson called the Ninety-Ninety Rule, atributed to Tom Cargil of Bell Labs: ” The first 90% of the code acount for the first 90% of development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.”
“A third-rate product that ships late often fails, but if your product delivers value to its users, arriving behind schedule won’t necessarily have lasting bad effects.”
“It might be counterintuitive in our feature-conscious world, but you simply cannot achieve your goals by using feature lists as a problem-solving tool. It’s quite possible to satisfy every feature item on the list and still hatch a catastrophe. Interaction designer Scott McGregor user a delightful test in his class to prove this point. He describes a product with a list of features, asking his class to write down what the product is as soon as they can guess. He begins with 1) internal combution engine; 2) four wheels with rubber tires; 3) a transmission connecting the engine to the drive wheels; 4) engine and transmission mounted on a metal chasis; 5) a steering wheel. By this time, every student will have written down his or her positive identification of the product as an automobile, whereupon Scott ceases using features to describe the product and instead mentions a couple of user goals: 6) cuts grass quickly and easily; 7) comfortable to sit on. From the five feature clues, not one student will have written down “riding lawnmower”. You can see how much more descriptive goals are than features.”
“People who use business software might despise it, but they are paid to tolerate it. This changes the way people think about software. Getting paid for using software makes users far more tolerant of its shortcomings because they have no choice, but it doesn’t make it any less expensive. Instead – while the costs remain high – the become very difficult to see and account for.”
“The value of a prototype is in the education it gives you, not in the code itself. Developer sage Frederic Brooks says, “Plan to throw one away.” You will anyway, so you might as well do it under controlled circumstances”.
Chapter 4 – The Dancing Bear
“Whats wrong with software: software forgets, software is lazy, software is parsimonious with information, software is inflexible, software blames users, software won’t take responsability
Chapter 5 – Customer Disloyalty
Capability (engineering), Viability (business), Desirability (design)
“In the information age – in the age or rapid innovation and extreme cognitive friction – design is a primary necessity.”
Chapter 6 – The Inmates Are Running the Asylum
“Clearly, one side of software – the inside – must be written with technical experitse and sensitivity to the needs of computers. But equally clear, the other side of software – the outside – must be written with social expertise and sensitivity to the needs of people. It is my contention that programmers can do the former, but it takes interaction designers to do the latter.”