I recently came across an interesting posting on software quality from Bola Rotibi, principal analyst at Macehiter Ward-Dutton. In the posting Bola draws an analogy between “good enough software” and a one-star hotel. It’s all about managing our expectations, according to Bola:
A one star hotel probably offers adequate and “good enough” services for those on a budget. But this would not be sufficient for five-star luxury seekers. The key, though, is that customers of each know what they are getting for their money and whether it is fit for their purpose. There is a quantifiable means of grading what is delivered and matching that to what is expected.
At the moment commercial software ships with a huge disclaimer which frees the software maker from any legal obligation to build software that “works”. I am not aware of any other industry where a company is allowed to ship shoddy products. I think Bola has a good idea here, in terms of hotel ratings for software. Perhaps we need some kind of standard for “good enough” software and a rating system, which informs buyers what they are getting.