Monday, February 14, 2022

The software is never done (!)

The software is never done!

Certainly not news; and certainly not profound to any engineer, coder, or PM working in the software industry, writing apps, or supporting software enabled devices.

Users have come to expect routine and regular updates to all things software.

Ooops, not so fast!
What about the automobile industry?
Traditionally: the car is done! 
  • Buy it; keep it; sell it, eventually. Never needs an upgrade!
But that tradition may be short-lived: Cars will need upgrades over the life-cycle

What now?
A few months after I bought a new car I got a recall notice to take it in for an upgrade to the transmission control software. That recall system is probably the way to keep software up to date for many of the in-vehicle software programs. 
  • But, is this only a warranty service? 
  • How long would manufactures support software upgrades for 2nd or 3rd party apps?
  • The life of car is 12 years+ for new vehicles. That's 'forever and forever' in the software industry, comparable to still supporting the iPhone 4! 
Big Tech
So-called big tech is taking over much of the user interface and user apps in new vehicles (except Tesla which does all its own in-house design and does not support Android and Apple apps on its user panels)

Long term support
As a project manager, what can you look forward to as regards long-term supportability of apps?
And, as a app developer, you may be one layer removed from knowing that it will find its way into the automobile industry. 
And as a business manager or customer support liaison, which customer are you supporting most?
  • The one that pays the bills (automobile manufacturer) or 
  • The customer that buys the car?
In the Agile sense of value-as defined-by-the customer, who is most influential?
Long term, these are my wonderments. I wonder how they would be written into project requirements?
  • I wonder if you'll be able to go to your local auto parts retailer and buy an upgrade-on-a-stick for legacy vehicles? 
  • I wonder if there is not a whole industry to be invented supporting older cars with updated interfaces?  
  • I wonder if its practical to expect the after-market developer to maintain currency for 'a long time'. 
  • I wonder if personal security, data security (nav data, for instance, but also other data about downloads to the car like music stations and podcasts, etc), and all the rest will not spawn a whole set of requirements, support issues, and a supporting industry?

Perhaps in the future, the mantra will have to be something like this:

The software is never done!
And, neither is the car!

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