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Quality Vs Speed: Paradox Lost?


The paradox that highlights a decision on whether you wish to have your software pushed out quick with bugs on slow with fewer errors can be eliminated so that a great software project can be both quick and reliable thanks to IBM Rational. Read more ...

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By: The Rational Edge
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 3
July 27, 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Quality Vs Speed: Paradox Lost?
  2. · Article
  3. · Notes

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Quality Vs Speed: Paradox Lost?
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In 1847, a Hungarian physician practicing in Vienna identified a major cause of death among women giving birth in hospitals. It's inconceivable now, but 150 years ago, physicians not only did not wear latex gloves; they didn't even wash their hands between patients -- even after performing autopsies. An outbreak of puerperal fever, sometimes killing as many as thirty percent of women giving birth in hospitals, caused Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis to think what was then the unthinkable:

Could the obstetricians -- physicians who had dedicated their lives and enormous amounts of time and energy to saving patients -- actually be causing their deaths?

Experiments in which surgeons washed their hands with antiseptics proved him correct; the mortality rate dropped from twenty-five to thirty percent to less than one percent. Nonetheless, Semmelweis was unable to get hand washing universally adopted by his fellow physicians, because they felt his idea had no scientific basis -- in other words, at the time there was no theory of bacterial infection.1 Consequently, many more patients continued to die over the following decades until rudimentary hygiene practices were adopted among hospital staffs.

As a salesperson for IBM Rational, I've at times felt that the problems in software development resemble those of Dr. Semmelweis. Often when I give a sales presentation, I explain the "software development paradox" that squeezes software projects on one side by the need for higher quality, and on the other side by the need for faster time to market.

During the presentation I show that IBM Rational tools, process, and services can eliminate the software paradox, helping teams to deliver on time or even ahead of time, with fewer defects and more satisfied customers. I have empirical proof: IBM Rational customers report incredible return on investment (ROI) after adopting even just a portion of the total Rational solution.2 Where Rational principles and tools have not been adopted, software projects continue to fail at an alarming rate.3

My question is similar to Dr. Semmelweis':

Could the highly dedicated development staffs of these organizations possibly be contributing to the failure of their projects? If so, how? Shouldn't they adopt the Rational solution? Could there be a "germ theory" of software?

In this paper I'll show how I found answers to these questions -- answers which satisfy me. I hope they will also satisfy you, or at least lead you to think about how we might overcome the challenges we face in delivering software with both quality and a speedy time to market.


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