Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

"Shipping is a feature"

"Shipping is a feature"

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For anyone that has developed a widget, those words will have dramatic meaning.  The majority of my career in the IT industry has been spent as a professional developer.  I can still say that until I hit thirty one years in the business.  Those words certainly have meaning to me.  I am all too familiar with the creative process and the pressures of business.

The term isn't new:

http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=%22shipping+is+a+feature%22

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22shipping+is+a+feature%22

I didn't look back to see when the first searchable occurrence was.  Widget makers long ago probably thought it up.  It doesn't matter who said it first.  What matters is what happens next.

Yesterday Mike Neil, Microsoft General Manager - Virtualization Strategy, used those four little words.  They are far from little and most people that build things will never use them lightly.  It usually means that hard choices have been made.  Those choices can have dramatic impact on peoples lives.

In a few more weeks I'll have my 11th anniversary with Microsoft.  Over the past decade I've seen a lot of decisions made about software and strategy.  Software development is part art and part science.  There's also the business part.  It's fun to watch ideas get hatched.  You want to see the baby chicks grow into soaring eagles and rule the high mountain passes.

But the reality of time is always on the developers mind.  "Is my widget in the right place at the right time?"  "Will it sell?"  "Does it meet customer needs?"

The last question is really important but timing, location, marketing, distribution, support and other business issues are strategic to success.  Place the customer first, get the quality right, execute and live for another day.

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