I wonder, why so many companies that have substantial part of their revenue generated directly or indirectly by the in-house developed software, treat their software developers and processes like a totally unimportant shit that is financed last, mostly from left-overs of the budget pie? Examples? As many as you like:
- Want to buy some books? Oh no, we have already purchased two books in 2006!
- Pluralsight trainings? Waaaaaay out of budget! You have Internet, don’t you?
- Latest Visual Studio? We just got VS2008 6 years ago – it is almost new!
- Resharper? We have heard that Notepad++ and vim are quite cool – use them!
Interestingly, these same people in charge happily use PowerPoint, instead of Paint, create budgets and sales funnels in Excel, instead of Notepad, and write documents in Word, not WordPad. Outlook with Exchange is also a standard “feature”, despite corporate Gmail would be more than sufficient. Service personnel in these same companies is using DeWALT or Metabo accumulator drills costing $150-$300 each, instead of those from local Cheap-o-Store, costing $30 for two.
No-one would repair his car in a garage outfitted with an in-house made car lift; no-one would let a dentist with a 1970s tooth-drill to do anything in his mouth; nor would anyone buy a 10 years old TV as a first choice. No matter how cheap all these would be!
So, why this difference? Is it because salaries are a “fixed cost”, and all other expenses are not? That developers’ productivity is only a small fraction of what is would be with modern tools and up to date training seems to be completely ignored; likely, this argument would be called “speculation” or “matter of opinion”. Or is it because developers cannot voice out and defend their needs/demands? Service guys, for a comparison, are nicely covered by their union agreements with all those “job safety” rules (plus, companies would not like to see office walls or doors destroyed by crappy tools).
I have no answer. But it is really sad to see this picture again and again, year after year. And if I could explain it in 1995 by lack of information and research data, why is it still like this in 2013? Any ideas?