Why MyRoute-app waits with announcements
The single most requested feature was in fact, not, a height profile. The single most requested feature was a kind of insight into what we’re working on next in general. In the past we’ve worked a lot with newsletter emails and we’ve shifted our communication format a few times around. In general though, MyRoute-app has been hesitant on teasing and announcing features because we don’t want to disappoint.
Programming any kind of software is practically incomparable to other disciplines out there and is in practice hardly predictable in time, budget and knowledge. A chef knows how many ingredients it takes to bake a cake, what appliances he needs to use and how much time it would cost. He could also easily quantify what everything would cost. Ask a programmer to do the same to bake a digital cake and he will laugh and throw sand in your face before running away as fast as possible. Surely, I’m exaggerating here, but the reality with most large-scale IT projects is that they’re hardly digital kitchens where programmers create delicious software by haphazardly writing lines of code in staggered neon-green digits on a black screen.
In our specific case we have to also be very careful with the resources we spend on development. Our development team has nowhere near the capacity that the corporate giants can throw around. At MyRoute-app you won’t find floor upon floor of project teams, managers and other office folk working nine-to-five shifts in a colossal skyscraper. This does have benefits though, but those benefits are the prime reasons why it’s harder for us to communicate announcements. We might change our plans on a dime if a project starts looking grim, while at the corporate giant this thought has to travel up, down and sideways through a multidimensional chain of command. Discussions and meetings will be organized, consultants will be asked to chime in on subjects they have no knowledge of while managers fence with favors and responsibilities for the entertainment of president, board and shareholders.
While this might simultaneously mean that the big boys on the playground are able to create features while more closely adhering to the parable of a digital kitchen, it also means that they lose the flexibility to quickly cancel an order. There’s no providing a quality alternative or making up for it by other means. They’re usually too entrenched for that. To make things worse, if they truly become unable to deliver something high-profile that they’re working on it has the chance to turn into a grand spectacle of drama and tears that might last for weeks or even months. Bonus points if key figures resign. Now of course we also have that risk, but for us that risk is infinitely more manageable because we’re so flexible. On the other hand, MyRoute-app doesn’t have an eighty-headed risk-aversion department.
As we’ll be announcing in this month’s newsletter, we’re now working on a few new features for both BASIC and GOLD users while working on improving the stability on Navigation (most notably the black-screen issue on Android). At the same time we’re working on an entirely new product. Here’s hoping nobody has to resign over any of this.