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This chapter is from the book

Waste Not, Want Not

Even in the best of financial times, a software organization shouldn't be sloppy or wasteful with its resources: people, money, and time. There will always be more functions that could be added to the existing software if there were just a few more people around to do the work. There will always be more new software that could be developed if we just had a bit more money. There will always be a few more defects in existing systems that could be fixed if we just had a bit more time to fix them.

When financial times get tough, there are even fewer people around to do the work. There is also less money. But getting the work done quickly is even more critical than before. In tough financial times, it's even more important for the organization to use its resources wisely. A wasted person-day, a wasted dollar, or a wasted calendar-day will always be just that: wasted. As resources get scarcer, it becomes that much more important to get the best return out of your software investment.

This book is about getting the most out of your software investment. A lot of time and money has been spent on software since the first programs were written. Some of it was spent wisely, but some of it was not. Regardless of whether it will be spent wisely or not in the future, people will continue to spend time and money on software. So how will you know if your organization's time and money are being well spent? How can you find out if you'd get more return from investing your limited resources in some other way? When your boss asks you, "Is this the best way for us to be spending our limited time and money?" how can you answer in a way that gives your boss confidence you really know what you're talking about?

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