Two traits of outstanding software.

An uncomfortable silence falls over the meeting room. Someone just broke the question.

So can we handle the traffic when the marketing campaign launches?

It seems that behind the event horizon of everyday work there is something only few dare to question.

The non-functional areas of software in the making. For example, security and performance play a central role in building an outstanding web service, and still, we rarely discuss concrete actions to deal with them.

‘I thought the service provider takes care of the traffic!?’ is typical answers.

In development, we add new features on the product that we are building. We split epics into stories into tasks. And it is easy to do with visible functionality.

The non-functionality like security and performance are built-in to the product, and they are characteristics of a well-designed architecture. But they are hard to consider in the daily trenches of development efforts.

Outstanding products are a combination of awesome add-on features and incredible built-in characteristics.

Despite this, the responsibility of the built-in characteristics almost always remains in the grey zone. We need a magical someone to take ownership of asking the hard questions. And let the uncomfortable silence hang like a rain cloud over the meeting room.

Here are two examples just to illustrate the impact of the non-functional characteristics. Poor performance decreases your cashflow. Literally.

  1. Every 100-millisecond optimization in online store performance raises the revenue by 1%. It mean money! On the other hand, every 100ms of lag decreases the revenue by 1%. (Reported by both Amazon and Walmart)
  2. 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Think about the attention span of a consumer! And sites that load within five seconds see an increase of 70% in average sessions times (Reported by Google).

There is nothing to argue about here. It makes no difference, what your role is. If you want to protect and build the business you get to serve, take ownership of both the added-on features and built-in characteristics.

And start daring to ask the difficult questions.

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Today the world doesn’t need your fear or your worry. Now, more than ever, it needs the best version of you!

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