Monday, 29 April 2002

Unlimited possibilities are dangerous.

  • Why did the Roman empire collapse, notwithstanding its size?
  • Why do even huge monopolistic conglomerates go broke?
  • Why does software grow in complexity until it is unmaintainable?
My personal opinion: there is a natural boundary within which things stay under control. This boundary tends to be out of reach because of a number of external forces.
  • Other countries defend their borders.
  • Competitors limit the market share of a supplier, define boundaries for quality, sales price and time-to-market.
  • Time and budget limit software developers.
Remove those boundaries and things go wrong.
  • Remove the balance between countries and they will grow until they collapse.
  • Without competition, companies grow till they are no longer able to control themselves.
  • Offer a software developer unlimited time and budget and the software will grow to his level of incompetence. Even something as simple as a style sheet grows incredibly complex.
Hmm, something to ponder. I am not a political or business consultant, so I limit my conclusion to software:

Time and budget limitations prolong the lifetime of software.

Software developers, welcome the deadlines of your customers with great joy. Celebrate a limited budget. Keep software simple. Stay well within your own level of competence. Customers and the software emperors that succeed you will be grateful.

Till next week,