from the what-do-you-measure-your-software-by dept.
crowston asks: "There have been a number of discussions on Slashdot and elsewhere about how good projects work (e.g., Talk To a Successful Free Software Project Leader), but less about how to tell if things are going well in the first place. While this may seem obvious, most traditional definitions of software project success seem inapplicable (e.g., profit) or nearly impossible to measure for most projects (e.g., market share, user satisfaction, organizational impact). In an organizational setting, developers can get feedback from their customers, the marketplace, managers, etc.; if you're Apache, you can look at Netcraft's survey of server usage; but what can the rest do? Is it enough that you're happy with the code? I suspect that the release-early-and-often philosophy plays an important role here. I'm asking not to pick winners and losers (i.e., NOT a ranking of projects), but to understand what developers look at to know when things are going well and when they're not."
The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact
mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.
- Frank Zappa