Saturday, December 09, 2017

"It depends" / Jocelyn Goldfein model for software classification

Continuing with the idea of knowing the context of our software as the first step to making better decisions (see it depends blogpost). I will explain in this post a software classification that I found very useful.

This software classification was created/defined by Jocelyn Goldfein in the article and explained at The "right" way to ship software Jocelyn Goldfein - hack.summit 2016  for example.

The model classifies an application in two axes:

  • Horizontal axis: Stack and deployment model. From very costly to deploy (on-premise, operating systems, embedded software, etc.) to easy to deploy (web application in a cloud PaaS). 

  • Vertical axis:  Business model. From very costly software for a critical mission for an enterprise, up to free software for consumers.

Attending to this classification, we can define the cost of making a mistake for the application, the optimal release process, how to obtain feedback, etc.

For example, for costly enterprise software deployment on-premise, the best approach for obtaining feedback, perhaps is having beta tester programs with discounts for the customer. But to get feedback from a customer-oriented software that is sustained by ads, the fastest way is A/B testing and continuous deployments of new experiments.

Another example, if we consider 1x the cost of making a mistake for a free consumer web application deployed in the cloud, perhaps the cost of making a mistake for expensive enterprise software deployed on-premise may be two orders of magnitude higher.

I found this classification very useful for my day to day work. But remember, the context can be different for each part of a large system and also evolve with time.

According to this classification, these are the systems in which I have been involved:

Thank you, Jocelyn Goldfein, for this useful classification model.


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