“It was tears, pain, frustration and anger at the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) headquarters yet again. The online seat selection process of the Common Entrance Test (CET) was a mess on Friday,” reports today’s Times of India.
We in such cases blame the officials and bad process. Such problems are mostly the result of bad software. The companies implementing these applications are quality certified and highly accredited for the ‘maturity’ of their development processes. Such are the companies which contribute to shameful and absurd errors and corruption of the systems. Ire of the end user seldom is directed to the creator of the problem.
For the software companies, the applications are business opportunities and all that counts is their profit margin. In this industry, requirements are not considered opportunities, but as problems. A sad term often used is ‘problem statement,’ which is essentially an ‘opportunity statement.’ Psychological advantages of considering the work as an opportunity rather than a problem.
Our software companies rant sacred mantras like customer focus, customer is king, customer is God, customer is always right, etc. These fashion statements are supported by the quality process certification schemes. For the vendor companies, customer is the one who pays. End user is disregarded.
Software developers also are users of applications for common use like banking, education, travel, healthcare, e-Governance, etc. If only this community considered themselves to be the customers and satisfy themselves with the quality of the software they develop, they would become better professionals and we will have useful and reliable systems.
Dogfooding refers to companies that use internally the software products they create for the public. Developers who do not use their own software on a regular basis are often unable to understand the problems users face.
Let the software developers regularly eat the dog-food they cook. Dog-food will turn delicious. If not, the officials and the public should hold the software community accountable.