Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Two

| by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Jul 05, 2006. Estimated reading time: less than one minute |
You can't have everything.  But don't listen to naysayers:
You CAN have your software right now.

Ron Jeffries is at it again.  Always on the lookout for a great opportunity, he has made an unparalled online offer: send me your money and I'll send you your software.

Ron will accomodate all requests: he has discovered a way to ship software incredibly fast - even faster than his XP teams do, in fact.  Just for fun: have a look at his new Completely Functional enterprise, and his progress report: Completely Functional This Just In.

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How very useful by Nenad V. Nikolic

Is there any benefit from this post other than making fun of people (who are less concerned about bad wording than software developers are)?


Re: How very useful by Timo Rantalaiho

Regardless of the quality of the humor or the usefulness of this post in InfoQ, I think that what mr Jeffries might be after is a critical attitude on what "functional" or "done" might mean. This seemingly simple question may open up interesting new views on the software development process:

Best wishes,


Re: How very useful by Deborah Hartmann

Nenad, do you think that careful editing on the part of the original writer would have corrected his or her belief that a feature can be both wrong and complete? I've seen this point of view enough times to know that some people live with quite comfortably with this inconsistency. Well, the developer is comfortable... the customer, probably not so much (hence the request for reprogramming by a different developer).

Re: How very useful by Nenad V. Nikolic

Hi Deborah,
Let me try to "reverse engineer" the example extracted by Mr. Jeffries.

A potential client has a piece of software someone built some time ago. Now, this same person is looking for someone/anyone (via some Computer Society list) and not the original author (for who knows what reason) to save the day, I mean, software.

My conclusion is that the client didn't give enough attention to either requirements [specification] nor to examining/testing the software that was built. Neither did the original developer.

Of course, I do not think that careful editing by the client would make software already built any better, rather that more active and prudent participation in software building process certainly would. As for the developers (as any group of people), world would be a better place if they would be doing their job more responsibly.

Mr. Jeffries extracted this experience out of the context leaving it to the readers to draw concusions. Maybe Timo is right in interepreting his intent and I partly agree with him. However, I see Mr. Jeffries post much more as an anecdote and a way to make fun of someone among geeks.

Regardless of Mr. Jeffries' intent, and judging by non-trivial content of InfoQ site, I believe all of your readers have experience with customers that do not understand what they really need, tending to realize their needs later in the project (or too late). This is almost certainly common sense to all InfoQ readers.

Maybe a more constructive approach would be to propose approaches on how to avoid such situations rather than to joke about customers that allow themself to receive functional software they do not really need...


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