[bf1942] Hotfix release time upgraded from 'soon' to 'not far off'

Lee Latham leeprivate at cgmlarson.com
Fri Jul 15 11:21:43 EDT 2005

I think that's a very valid way of doing things, and like another poster 
said you can always promise a date later than you expect.  But this is more 
problematic for hotfixes, and it's just in my experience very, very, very 
easy to be wrong.

When we do contract work we do the "promise a later date than you really 
need so they'll be pleased to get it early" strategy.  But for 
"hotfixes"....  We have a running joke around here where we ask a developer 
"so, how long is it going to take you to figure this out?"  The answer of 
course is that he really has no idea.  You can make a guess, but more often 
than not one meets with further, unanticipated complexities.

I might remind you of Id's slogan, "when it's done".  I might also suggest 
that at times contacting a customer to let them know it will be later than 
expected does not always make them think that you are super competent, 
since they sometimes just think that you can't estimate time to 
completion!  I DO NOT think anyone on this list would be happy if EA told 
us a patch would be available in a month, and then we got it a week later!

Ultimately, I think this list has quite a bit of evidence of the irrational 
nature of software customers, which unfortunately can only be met with 
vagueness or "evasiveness" if you like, IMHO.  I realize that's  a cynical 
attitude, but one that was aquired after years of trying to be straight-up 
with my customers and meeting with a total lack of appreciation for it.

NOT that I'm high on defending these guys...but this is an interesting 
discussion and I am always looking to improve the way I do things.  I do 
not claim my way is the best way, but just the only way I've found so far 
that actually works.


At 09:44 AM 7/15/2005, you wrote:
>I am a software developer as well and we always give customers a firm date.
>Being vague may give you wiggle room but it also sends the message that you
>don't have a firm grasp on either the situation or your ability to deal with
>it effectively.  The potential problem is not missing a deadline as much as
>it is not communicating effectively with the client.  If a deadline is not
>going to be met, the trick is to contact the client ahead of time to let
>them know.  Too often people wait until the deadline is past before
>commenting on the status of a given job.  That's what makes people upset.
>There is simply no substitute for clear and precise communication between
>involved parties.  It's too bad that those in charge of BF2 have yet to
>learn this lesson.

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