Jan 24, 2012

Non-Accountability Platform

Everybody is talking about platforms. Here a platform, there a platform, everywhere a platform. Don't get me wrong, I love platforms but I'm not so sure that accountability is following at the same pace.

I suspect a trend might develop, if it's not already here. Some platform developers can say anything they want about the “supposed” capacities of their platform and the application developers will get the heat of any short comings.

Here's a typical situation that explains the problem: Company A promises a platform that will do X, Y and Z. Developer D starts making product on the evolving platform with features dependant on the eventual existence of X, Y and Z. Company A delivers X on time but delivers Y too late forcing overtime on Developer D, resulting in bad feature integration. Also, in good measure, Company A doesn't even bother delivering Z which is part of a central feature of Developer D's future product. The fun part is that Company A doesn't have to publicly announce its short coming(s) because people will blame the developers for 'not using the platform the right way'. The only point of comparison for the public is the original 'promise' of the platform and, since the BIG company didn't change the specs, it must be the small developer's fault.

For contractual reasons, the developers can't say much in a situation like that, so they bite the bullet secretly dreaming of a magical land where truth and honor means something.

So... dear platform developers, please do these two simple things:

  • Don't promise impossible things
  • Publicly come clean with the 'real' specs and defend the developers