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For a Healthy Software Product Life

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.

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Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 09 November, 2014, 14:061 like 1 like

I wonder which one would be a better choice if the product is affected with a terminal illness...to continue running it on steroids or pull the plug. While saving life of a human is of paramount importance, ROI analysis is made for every bit of medicinal cost incurred upon a software product. Therefore, as recommended in the blog, planned preventive checks are a key to healty product life

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 09 November, 2014, 16:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It's clear that your kid was vaccinated against typhoid among other diseases. However, it's not clear against what "disease(s)" you're recommending vaccinating a software product: Scope creep? Defects? Bad UI? Its very existence?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 November, 2014, 04:331 like 1 like

Researches in health science for decades have resulted in indentification of various diseases and eventually making vaccines for each, may be if today we take an aerial view, it looks tad easy because human blood and its constituents are same and unique across homo sapiens and hence the methods and implementation challenges (vaccines) are greatly severed. There is a certain bouyancy, that keeps the whole affair at afloat. Each product should try to come out with its own analysis and research and may be make such lists and vaccines, precisely what the author has intended. Lot of products have either become reduntant or taken over, due to lack of prudence, reckless pursuit and with no preventive measures and corrective actions.The article is emphasising on the need of proactive measures that product companies have to take, for its existence and survival thereon.The article lays out the path, its how we tread on it.