The Benefit Gap (What’s missing)

Jürgen has an interesting article: The Benefit Gap

The “benefit gap” is simply “what’s missing” - the difference between “what we need” and “what we use”. I’m still looking for the best English translation of the German term “Nutzendefizit”.

When we have a goal and do something to reach it, then we have to distinguish the following:

1. What we need, i.e. what would completely satisfy our goal.
2. What we want, i.e. what we think we need.
3. What we ask for, i.e. what we say we want.
4. What we get/have, i.e. what we accept under given constraints.
5. What we use, i.e. to what extent we really use what we have.

Ties in neatly with the findings of The Standish Group (mentioned here: Use Case Driven Agile Development), according to which an average of 45 percent of any given product is waste and will never be used.

By the way, Jürgen’s blog deals with the following:

What’s this Blog about?

The central theme of this blog is the lack of incentives for software producers (external or in-house) to reduce the lifecycle costs (i.e. to increase the quality) of software. In fact there are big incentives to lower the initial expenditures by reducing quality and shifting costs into the future, thus increasing the total lifecycle costs for the consumers. This is one of the major reasons for the persistence of the software crisis.
Software is almost unique as a credence good with very high switching costs. The inability of consumers to take quality sufficiently into account when selecting software or software producers coupled with the high cost of switching later on creates a significant competitive advantage for producers of lower-quality software.

Always a good read.

One Response to “The Benefit Gap (What’s missing)”

  1. Jürgen Ahting Says:

    Thanks for the flowers.
    The original source for the Standish findings you refer to is an invited talk of James Johnson, Chairman of The Standish Group, at the XP2002 conference. While I was there, it’s difficult to find on the web anymore (look here).