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Better, faster, cheaper

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Ok so this is for the software professionals. I came accross this gem of a quote and thought I should share it.


"Software can be better, faster, cheaper - pick any two."

Anyone who has developed software for a living would instantly agree. Better here means of a higher quality. Faster means a lesser time to delivery and cheap means less cost in developing the software. All these terms are from the viewpoint of the developer and not the customer here, since its actually a funny (but true) take at software engineering.

A situation where your boss requires you to fulfill all three is a trap. You can develop good software in a short amount of time, but that would require people with a lot of expertise - and they don't come cheap. Go figure the rest of the combinations out for yourself. But the point I'm trying to make here is, if you are faced with a requirement document containing all the three as must-have's - speak up. There is no point in telling everyone 1 year down the line that features will be half baked or deadlines cannot be met. Don't be afraid to tell them what is the max your team can do, and what will be required in order for it to function better; be it more people, hardware or simply time.

I've had some experience with impossible requirements, and I thought I should share this with anyone who's just getting into the field or still faces such requirements. Any thoughts on this one? Like your experiences of how best to say - can't be done, or what is more essential in terms of deadlines - more people or more resources?

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