Thursday, 15 August 2013

Competitiveness in production

K   :  Competitiveness
Ea  :  Efficacy
Ei  :  Efficiency
Qp  :  Quality of Product
Qs  :  Quality of Service
T   :  Time
C   :  Cost

Ea  =def  Qp * Qs
Ei  =def  1 / (C * T)

K  =def  Ea * Ei  =  (Qp * Qs) / (C * T)

The definition of competitiveness is common to all kinds of engineering, but with software (in fact, with all knowledge-related production), contrary to what happens with conventional engineering (the "hard" kinds of production), efficacy and efficiency are directly proportional. In other words, and contra the usual assumptions, with software, higher quality goes with lower costs. In symbols:

EaEi

3 comments:

  1. [Your sources and/or rationale? ...
    Also, it's been awhile, but I think your definitions show Ea and Ee as inversely (not directly) proportional, as does your final sentence.]

    Given that in the world of soft- products the cost of production is often negligible compared to development or even operations, what does your statement tell us that that can be applied in a useful way?

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  2. Hello George, thanks for your interest and my apologies for not getting back to you any sooner: I had very strict policies in place as to what comments to allow, but I am now reviewing these to be more relaxed...

    The definition of competitiveness (i.e. K) is in itself common to all engineering, so no news on that side: the only and very significant difference as for software and knowledge related production in general is exactly in that quality is inversely proportional to cost. (Incidentally, note that efficiency is the reciprocal of cost...)

    My sources are general engineering knowledge as I have collected it across the years, from others as well as from my own work: anyway, as far as I am aware, the synthesis I have provided above is my own contribution.

    I am then unclear how you can find that of little use: currently, the social as well as the business costs of software production are among the highest as far as I can tell, plus the fact that "higher quality goes with lower costs" I think is a capital notion to anyone concerned with the management and organisation of software production: as an indication of how to approach the problem, as well as a strong clue as to why thing most commonly just go badly wrong...

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