“Just Ship It!”

An item on eweek.com references a supposed Microsoft developer’s blog entry, which conveys frustration with the decision to ship a product that is not ready for release. This developer’s sentiments are definitely shared among many developers in other software development pursuits. The developer’s attachment to the product and the dedication to minimize its faults is admirable, but due to market pressure, certain companies are forced into ignoring requests for delays that are intended to fix possible showstoppers.

From a theoretical standpoint, the development process should be iterative and include some form of testing and risk management. Microsoft developers cannot be blamed for its faulty software, because the company as a mature development house certainly has such quality controls in its software development lifecycle. Implementing good software and coordinating teams responsible for their components require time that Microsoft did not have. In a less competitive world, developers may possibly use as much time as needed to deliver robust applications, however, Microsoft is battling rival companies on several fronts in the computing industry’s hypercompetitive landscape. MySQL, an open-source database from MySQL AB, was released recently and has matured to a level that makes it competitive to Oracle and SQL Server. Microsoft needed to make SQL Server and the development tools that support it available before companies are able to plan and implement a transition to MySQL. Blame for the release of faulty SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio implementations, if present, should be placed on the people who are responsible for Microsoft’s corporate strategy.

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