Worse is better

“Gabriel argues that “Worse is better” produces more successful software than the MIT approach: As long as the initial program is basically good, it will take much less time and effort to implement initially, and it will be easier to adapt to new situations, for example: porting software to new machines. Thus its use will spread rapidly, long before a program developed using the MIT approach has a chance to be developed and deployed. Once it has spread, there will be pressure to improve its functionality, but users have already been conditioned to accept “worse” rather than the “right thing”. “Therefore, the worse-is-better software first will gain acceptance, second will condition its users to expect less, and third will be improved to a point that is almost the right thing. In concrete terms, even though Lisp compilers in 1987 were about as good as C compilers, there are many more compiler experts who want to make C compilers better than want to make Lisp compilers better.”

Worse is better – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We have ,in our organization, experienced this .The banking software we had adopted was based upon an archaic Scottish concept of banking which was implemented at great risk for migration from the essentially manual systems of book keeping to a first time ever computerized book-keeping. We thought the apocalypse had arrived and it was only a few years before we would all take back our left out provident fund moneys and go home. Strangely enough we plodded along for 15 years with the system with occasional hiccups but by and large it went on fine and the doomsday did not arrive as expected. We cursed the system under our breath but carried on regardless. Perhaps worse was actually better because the system evolved beautifully with several useful inputs from the grassroots level implementors and lo and behold the finished product bore no resemblance to the original one which we had inherited from the confused Scotsmen.

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