Last week the kid, now 11, was taken for yet another vaccination, a shot against Typhoid and Tetanus (TT) II stage prescribed for children of that age. This joined a long list of vaccines administered over the years, including BCG, OPV, Hepatitis B 1, Hepatitis
B 11, DTP, Measles, MMR etc. (not necessarily in that order). Wikipedia defines vaccination as “…
the administration of antigen material (a vaccine) to stimulate an individual's immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen.” During each stage of life till a child attains the age of 15, vaccination is required or inevitable. But sometimes,
in spite of being vaccinated, a kid will catch a contagious disease through contact with other kids.
The concept of immunization, which is basically that prevention is better than cure, applies equally to products. Assuming that software products also require “vaccination” immunizing them during any stage of product development or even at maturity, a few
precautions are in order.
For instance, it is important to identify who should be vaccinated – is it the product whose software code must be debugged, or is it the developers who should be fixed? This is a tough question to answer, but one which is extremely critical to the product’s
success. The question of when to administer the shot is easily answered; it is best to do it as soon as the symptoms become visible. Leaving it for later might well turn into a case of too little, too late.
Organizational changes at a senior management or selective level may or may not help, depending on the extent of the spread of the malaise. Hence it is important to ensure that the disease does not spread across the organizational body and that vital organs
are not affected.
Another point to note is that periodic checks are essential even with preventive measures in place. In the software product context, this means close monitoring along with the administration of preventive medication and vaccination at various stages. Inadequate
monitoring can allow the disease to creep up, and band-aid fixes at that stage will only delay the inevitable.
The unfortunate part is that some organizations, out of ignorance or carelessnes, fail to launch preventive measures even when they are easily available, with deadly consequences. Vaccinations and preventive checks must be planned early at the product incubation
stage so that they may be administered in a timely manner throughout the product lifecycle. This is the key to a longer and healthier product life.