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My $0.02: Small companies need Team System (VSTS) just as much as big companies.

As you may have noticed, the world economy has been a little under the weather lately.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the economy fits together with VSTS’s mission.  Specifically how, as Brian Randell says, “Team System is all about increasing the predictability of success”. 

Team System has been pitched more at large- and medium-sized companies rather than the small shops.  This makes sense because companies like that deal with larger applications, have more developers, and therefore are more likely to understand the need and want to follow some kind of real software development process (aka. SDLC best practices.) 

For argument, let’s say that one of these big companies didn’t bother with something like VSTS and/or didn’t follow any SDLC best practices.  What happens?  Well, they could lose or waste a couple million dollars on their software initiatives. 

If you’re a giant company and you screw up your project and burn a couple million, it’s not great but it’s probably not the end of the company. 

Now let’s say that you’re a smaller company or perhaps a startup.  You’ve got $0.5 million in funding and you figure that your line-of-business application is going to cost you something pretty close to $0.5 million to write.  What happens if you screw it up?  What happens if you go over budget?  It could potentially mean the end of the company.  At a minimum, we’re talking about a world of pain. 

So, who needs streamlined software development best practices more?  The huge company or the little company? 

I think it’s the little company.  If you don’t “increase the predictability of success”, you’re increasing your risk and increasing the chance that your company will fail.



One response to “My $0.02: Small companies need Team System (VSTS) just as much as big companies.”

  1. Dave Avatar

    Jay brings up a good point. It is not that small companies don’t want reap the benefits from using a tool like VSTS, it’s just that they can’t incur the costs. Take your small company example and I get $500k. How much of that budget is going to go to setting up a proper installation (hardware and software)? In this hypothetical situation let’s say there are three Devs and one QA/Tester now what is the costs? It you don’t include the ancillary licensing for project manager and stakeholder access (these can be purchased at a later date), the cost is still quite high. If I have other projects (aka more budget money), I can spread the costs out across projects. But if I budgeted $500k and only get $500k then there is no money to spare for the initial costs.

    I buy into all the hype around productivity gains, better project tracking and the like. I would love to be using VSTF. So I guess my question is, from a process point it makes sense, how can I get it to make sense from a financial sense?

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