What the Customer Really Wants

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simply an accepted way of life in IT. These coders may never develop the professional ethic necessary to give customers a product that is NOT riddled with problems or hard to use. They'll simply think that it's OK to create and sell software that has bugs, as long as there is some kind of workaround, hokey or not. Sure, there will always be some bugs - it's unavoidable. However, even moderate-level bugs are often unacceptable to customers. In fact, my own IT experience tells me that the "moderate" bugs exasperate customers the most. And remember, it is the customers who keep us in business.

Lest you think I have forgotten that all of these methods require time, which we never have enough of, rest assured that I have not. Neither have I forgotten about pride in performance, responsibility, and what my grandmother used to call "elbow grease." If the situation calls for it, we need to work both smarter and harder.

After all of the dot-com busts of the '90s, software professionals may no longer have the "wiggle room" we once had, especially when it comes to customer acceptance of our assumed deity status. We need to take a good look at not only what we do, but how we do it. And no matter how good we are, or think we are, we need to be better for our own sake as well as for the sake of our customers. Remember: the customers keep us in business.

Poor-quality software should be anathema to those who develop it, as much as it is to those who ultimately get stuck using it. As we build our products, we need to constantly be walking in our customers' shoes. And keep remembering who keeps us in business.

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