You Don’t Know Jack! How Software Gets Developed Part III

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Nov 7, 2015


Last week, we delved a bit into what complexity means in relation to crowdfunding, as well as an introduction to the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Part II can be found here.

The week before, we started looking at what complexity means. If you missed part I, you can find it here.

In part III, we’ll look at what the SDLC means for crowdfunded software development.

Software Complexity and SDLC Relevance to Crowdfunded Development

So, a few key things to keep in mind. Looking again at Star Citizen as an example. There have been numerous screams of scope creep both in the press and by individuals. Ultimately, the following are important points:

  1. As stated many times by CIG, the stretch goals were always planned to be developed, just after the game was initially completed and launched/commercially viable. Effectively what happened here was that Star Citizen phase 2 and/or Star Citizen phase 3 functionalities were getting moved into scope for phase 1 because the funding campaign was (and continues to be!) so wildly successful.
  2. Given that the above is true, and also that we know there was a plan for design and prototyping (a lot of what we’ve had in the past would traditionally have been classified as prototype, perfect example: the first hangar module), there’s nothing particularly to worry about since as we know: With enough time and money, anything is possible!
  3. What this does mean is that the initial timeline and budget are of course compromised.
  4. Since we know that with enough time and money, anything is possible. Would you rather have the game as currently envisaged or Wing Commander Privateer with modern graphics? Most people I know would rather have the game as described now.

These are important because if I’ve done my job in this series well, you’ve by now realised that the traditional project management constraints of time, scope and budget are all related, change one and you’re likely to change the others. The trouble is, what happens when (almost unheard of) you get additional budget you didn’t ask for?!?!?!

This is the fundamental problem Star Citizen has of course. In the business world, I’ve never heard of it happening.

Standard “clever person” logic:

“You’ve got more money, which means more resources, therefore you can do it faster!”

The real world unfortunately doesn’t work like this, particularly in software development.