Archive for January, 2011

New Year resolutions for all of us in the business of building mission critical software products

January 2, 2011 1 comment

One can always buy a calendar with daily inspirational quotes.   There are plenty of choices, except a calendar with daily inspirational quotes for software executives – or anyone responsible for building mission critical software products.

Over the years, I had the opportunity to hear and note many expressions which provide that precision and clarity of an inspirational quote.

For 2011 – these are the most notable:

“Hire software engineers who are smarter than the smartest IT administrator of your toughest customer”

“What is the real mission of any CTO?  Gently put VP of Sales out of the business by building a product that sells itself”

“QA- or quality assurance – is a misnomer;  QE – or quality engineering – should be the norm;  quality starts with the  design”

“Every software engineering team goes through four phases of maturity when a new member joins:  form, storm, norm, and perform.   Pay close attention to how the new member is accepted by others – or no one will go beyond the storm phase”

“Software deals worth millions were lost because a few thousand dollars were not invested in documentation which supports expectations of multimillion dollar software.   Imagine the customer asking you to provide actual product documentation during the pre-sales cycle:  what will you share?  Will it accelerate the deal or make the competitor look that much better?”

“Meaningful error messages and children have a lot in common.  Well educated child will explain themselves very well.   Well designed software with emphasis on proper error detection and error communication will also explain itself very well, especially at 2:00am on Sunday across the globe”

“What is the real benefit of a meaningful error message?  The customer will appreciate how even the most severe errors are handled with precision and grace”

“What is yet another benefit of a meaningful error message?  Three hours invested in better error management will save someone at least one weekend of searching for the root cause of a problem, the one that always happens at 2:00am on Sunday across the globe”

“Actively seek discomfort.  When your toughest customer makes your life very uncomfortable, you will never notice”

My favorite quote:

“You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well” by Jeff Bezos, founder of

Categories: Software Engineering