Late Software

By now everyone and their dog knows that Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is going to be late, much has been written about it.

I am disappointed as I had hoped to see it sometime around July. Still this is only a three month slippage, and we will just have to wait.

I don’t really buy the reason Apple is giving us, namely that resources had to be switched from Mac OS X 10.5 to the iPhone. From what Apple has told us, the iPhone has been in development for a number of years, enough time to gather enough metrics to have a good handle on what was needed in terms of resources to get to launch, and to put these resources in place without impacting 10.5. Clearly there are some new things coming out in 10.5 which we have not seen yet, and which are probably proving harder to build than anticipated.

I would also suspect that having AppleTV and the iPhone built on Mac OS 10 has increased the complexity of the project in general. 10.4 did not have that issue, they were just targeting the PowerPC and Intel computers.

All this got me thinking about software development and schedules in general. Of course we have all read The Mythical Man-Month by Brooks, along with countless other books on software engineering and software project management.

My experience with schedules is that the first 80% of a project takes 80% of the time, and the last 20% of the project also takes 80% of the time. This may sound like a contradiction but it really isn’t. I have found that it is pretty easy to get a product to a demonstrable stage, ie it appears to work. But it is much harder to get that product to a shippable stage where it is (reasonably) bug free. So progress will be very visible for a while and then visible progress will cease while all the kinks and bugs are worked out of the guts of the software.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: