Improving Wetware

Because technology is never the issue

Are we getting better at estimating software projects?

Posted by Pete McBreen 27 Oct 2019 at 22:38

Looking back over Kyle Wilson’s Software Is Hard post from way back in 2007, I was reminded about how bad we are at estimating software projects. As the article hinted at, we can get reasonable estimates for software we have previously developed, but there is little value in redeveloping existing software.

You never have to solve the exact problem that someone’s solved before, because if software already existed that solved your need, you wouldn’t have to write it. Writing software is expensive. Copying software is cheap.

In case anyone thinks that this lesson from 12 years ago is no longer relevant, think of the multiple promises that have been made for autonomous cars in recent years and compare that to the performance of the recently released Smart Summon feature in Teslas. There are multiple videos out there of cars driving tentatively or erratically in a parking lot, and we think that soon these cars will be ready to drive unattended on a public highway?

On a historical note, Consumer Reports back in early 2016 reported on the self parking feature, and now in late 2019, Consumer Reports suggests that Tesla Owners are Beta Testers.