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My sense of scale is getting all messed up. When I was little I heard the whole "a penny saved is a penny earned" and took it to heart. A dollar was a lot of money and not something that you would spend lightly. Only later did I realize that it took more effort to save that penny than it would be to just throw it away.
Lately I've been thinking of money in terms of people's time. Let's assume that it costs 500 $ per day per person. You've got 2 people working on it and 1 person supervising it (at 50%). That's a small-ish project, but that means you've got a burn rate of 1250 $ per day. That's like 25,000 $ per month. And I think that's a consertive estimate.
Now let's think of something a bit more famous: the gun registry. In total they spent 1 billion $. Now say that slowly:
One. Billion. Dollars.
That makes me angry, but that's pretty abstract. I find it hard to imagine 1 billion dollars. If that was in 20's, would the pile of cash be the size of my car? My house? My street? I've got no idea.
I can think of a lot of better ways to have spent that money. They could have done just about anything and it would have been better than going in the hands of software people... those damn, dirty sofware people. Aside: software is one of those fields in that if you are doing a really good job, most likely you are putting yourself out of a job....
What I would like is for managment to express the cost of their application not in dollars, not in person days, not in "resource units". Nothing that abstract. What I would like is for it to be expressed in vacines.
Let's bring the cost down to something that people can think about a bit more: do you really need that module, or is better to try and save 1000's peoples' lives? Or conversly, if you're a idiot and wasting money / time on something, can you go home and look youself in the mirror? Can you look your partner or kids in the eyes and tell them that you "did good today"? (I know it should be "well" not "good"). Or are you going to go home and say "I prevented 1000 people from getting a vacine today. 50 people will probably die without it."
I've heard (one of) the ideas of the iron ring is to rub against your work as you write as a physical reminder that your work can kill people: so be careful. I only wish that we had such a reminder for waste.Posted by jim at October 26, 2007 06:45 PM