Software And Roads


A good model can be a powerful reasoning tool. While all models are ‘wrong’, some are useful. Much of the literature about building great software applies the ‘software as a product’ model. It is a good model, but less useful for organizations where software isn’t the main thing. Instead, thinking of software as a tool, akin to large industrial machinery, or better yet a road would prove a more valuable model. This model encourages one to consider more questions like:

  • Where does the road go? How easy is it to add another destination?
  • Is the road valuable if no one uses it? How many have to use it before it is?
  • How much does it cost for a small car to use the road? How much for a massive, heavy commercial truck?
  • How might that car or truck ‘pay’ that cost?
  • What is the road made of? How was it adapted to the local terrain?
  • What kind of maintenance does the road need every year to remain passable? Do you use a quick patch, or rip and replace?