Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




The Evils of Super-long development cycles...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-02-23-comanche-program_x.htm

I know it's chump change to the US government, but the sound of 8 billlions dollars suddenly screaming at once and being silenced can't be to fun. 

Oh well, at the last contracters (Boeing and Sikorsky) got 8 billion out of the deal.    However, that has to be little consolation considering they are losing out on an estimated *30 billion*.

I know such numbers don't apply to most companies, but does provide a nice large scale case study.

Crimson
Monday, February 23, 2004

There are a lot of parallels with the software industry. While I haven't read the articles, and at most saw a cursory glance of the headlines, I suspect that the motivation is that technology has marched forward enough that it's cheaper, and more logical, to make remote controlled (or automated) recon/light attack vehicles rather than the expense and risk of sending in real people.

The parallel with a lot of software is that many idealistic developers believe that it's always worthwhile to invest in long term "frameworks", building massive structures of reusable/expandable code...and then there's a technology/platform change and it's all rendered obsolete and you start at square one again.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, February 23, 2004

To be carried away by the side thread...

Ah! That is a very interesting observation Dennis and quite true in general.

This is the main reason I am not jumping on the C# bandwagon. Yeah, it's a better environment, but if I stick to straight C, i'll never get abandoned. Isolate all system API calls as if they are toxic radioactive substances. Be able to port to the new way of doing things at a moment's notice by recoding the API access layer. The only way to do this is to stay with C and stay away from  everything else. Or at least that's how I've come to see things.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, February 23, 2004

A very telling quote:

"Comanche gave the Army a stealthy aircraft that reduced its signature to radar. Well, not too many insurgents have radar..."

Sometimes a low-tech solution is better than a technical solution.  Or the high-tech solution is easily defeated by low-tech means.

T. Norman
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home