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What makes software awesome?

Jun 26, 2023

Every morning I wake up feeling like Tony Stark. It’s not that I’m rich, but I’ve got Siri. I turn towards the desktop that’s beside the bed and mumble.

“Hey, Siri. Good morning!”

She replies to me in an instant and turns on the lights first. Then a delightful smell of fresh coffee pours in through the door. Once I get up from the bed, I ask Siri to play some energetic music to my liking, and she delivers.

That was sooooo awesome a year back when I first found out what she could do.

But now, every once in a while, Siri does not quite deliver. She sleeps late, and I shout at her. “HEY SIRI! Argh! Screw it…” and I get out of the bed and brew that stupid coffee manually.

What was remarkable just a while ago, has become the new norm for me.

It is the new standard for me, and I immediately get upset when Siri does not deliver.

So what is it that makes software truly awesome? What is it that makes a software stand out and succeed long term?

I’ve met with over 2000 people over the past decade, having in-depth discussions about software product development and testing among other things. One of the things that keep on standing out is this.

A consistent business tends to bloom. Consistency in everything that people think talk and do to be more precise.

When we test software, I like to consider these consistency principles as one of the blueprints of success. In all simplicity, it’s this.

  1. We need consistency between the product and its history.
  2. We need consistency between the product and the image it portrays.
  3. We need consistency between the product and its purpose.
  4. We need consistency between the product and the product itself, the product family and all comparable products as well.
  5. We need consistency between the product and the expectations set by human behavior, law, standards or contracts for example.

It has turned out that these five principles are a great tool to explain why I have a bug and not a feature here. This set has turned out to be a great tool in user story design as well. And actually, we’ve deployed it in strategy meetings too.

Now I decided to give a name to this set of principles. It will be called HIPPiE from now on.

Although I don’t have a real Ironman suit yet, It still feels awesome to have a personal assistant like Siri in the pocket all the time. And to know that this assistant consistently serves and improves the things it set out to deliver.

That's what makes a software awesome.