Paul Howson’s Website

Design and Publishing Notebook

So Many People, So Little Result?

Today’s announcement from Business Catalyst of SEO Friendly URLs for Products and Catalogs is a welcome step forward.

What puzzles me though is why progress on the Business Catalyst platform is still so excruciatingly slow. We were told late last year, after the acquisition by Adobe, that the engineering team was to be expanded five-fold. Assuming there were at least three on the engineering staff prior to the Adobe deal, that means there would have to be at least fifteen now.

I was hoping that with a larger team of (presumably) experienced and talented programmers that we would see real progress and a steady pace of new or improved features.

Yet the changes have been sparse and often quite minor. The significant reform that we have been awaiting has not materialised. What can be the reason?

One likely cause is that expanding the design/engineering/programming team has actually slowed progress due to the “Mythical Man Month” factor. All these new people are taking time to learn how Business Catalyst works and how it is put together. As the new team members dig into the existing code, they will find things they want to change. No doubt some of them are questioning earlier design decisions or perhaps finding that the codebase isn’t quite as perfect as it could be. People will want to change things, perhaps radically. You know the story.

We, the users of the system, can only wait and hope that real progress eventually does happen.