Virginia-based, business services management company Managed Objects has conducted a survey in the US that has been heatedly discussed on the blogsphere. A very disturbing conclusion of the survey is summarized as:

"IT managers are more likely to blame software for IT failures if their organization relies heavily on home-grown applications."

Although I make my living out of home-grown software, I have to agree that most home-based developers tend to recklessly forget the importance of stability on their applications. This would certainly explain this sad outcome from the survey.

There are three main reasons for in-home developers to end up with this extra burden:

  • lack of full-cycle methodologies: it is with an alarming frequency that I meet environments still not applying unit-testing for instance. The lack of certain steps in the development cycle or simply a very poor level of communication between stakeholders and developers may create all kind of stability problems in the future (or its perception anyway).
  • limited resources: very few companies invest what is needed for their home-grown applications. Normally the budgets are limited and professionals hired tend to be juniors and/or cheap enough to fit in those tight budget.- state of comfort: this is probably the most important reason - people just get comfortable after some period of time and start to neglect central aspects concerning the application being developed.

When we have people like Pascal Brosset, Senior Vice President of Market Strategy for SAP publicly encouraging IT managers with sentences like "Custom code over my dead body", it makes me wonder that independent developers and small consultancy companies may finally be loosing the war against giant off-the-shelf products.