My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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I'm not talking about Just-In-Time compilation. I'm talking about JIT manufacturing.

When you order furniture, it likely gets assembled only after the order was received. Toyota is famous for doing it with cars. You can do it yourself with JIT published books. On top of that, Land's End offers custom tailored, JIT manufactured clothing.

It's easy to say, "yes, we can publish software in the same manner." Every time we offer a download, it's done just in time. This post was copied and downloaded (published) at the moment you requested it.

That's not what I'm talking about either.

A disclaimer: I've yet to read the relevant book (Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit) from the Poppendieck's that brought Lean to software. They may have covered this before.

What my question covers is this: Can we think of an idea that would be repeatable, sell it to customers to fund the project, and then deliver it when it's done? (It should be sold to many customers, as opposed to custom software, which is, for the most part, already developed in that manner.)

In essence, can we pre-sell vaporware?

We already pre-sell all types of software - but that software is (presumably) nearing a releasable state (I've had my doubts about some of it). Can we take it to the next level and sell something which doesn't yet exist?

If such a thing is possible, there are at least three things you'll need to be successful (and I bet there are more):
  • A solid reputation for excellence in the domain you're selling to, or a salesperson with such a reputation, and the trust that goes with it.
  • A small enough idea such that it can be implemented in a relatively short time-frame. This, I gather, would be related to the industry in which you're selling the software.
  • An strong history of delivering products on time.
What do you think? Is it possible? If so, what other qualities do you need to possess to be successful? If not, what makes you skeptical?

Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!


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