August ’21 – Software development – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Like many of us who now spend considerably more time working from home, I find that I can fit in a few household chores during the day alongside my work. A moment ago, I heard the long, chirpy electronic tune coming from the kitchen that is my tumble dryer telling me its cycle is finished. 

What was at first an unusual and perhaps amusing feature of this particular appliance, has quickly become intensely irritating. And as with many automatic functions on machines like this, it’s hard to know how to switch it off. I wonder how many other owners grit their teeth whenever they hear the incessant noise?

I can imagine the software development department at the appliance factory. One developer says “hey, this is neat, I can get the tone generator to play different notes”. 10 minutes later, all the developers are playing with it and an hour later, the happy tune is born and has already become the new must-have feature, actually finding its way into the next software update.

But when did a customer ever ask for this? In their surveys, and feedback exercises, when did a customer ever say that the feature most likely to make them buy that brand again, would be a hard-to-disable irritating tune that serves no useful purpose and wakes the kids if the dryer is used at night?   

The point is, this is a great example of how not to develop software. And there are similar examples wherever you look. Surely software innovations should be in response to customers’ real-world needs rather than being driven by features that developers stumble across? 

As it says in the title, just because you can, that’s absolutely not a good enough reason to develop something if there’s no clear user justification for doing so. 

At SkillWise, we invite all of our users of VQManager to contribute their ideas to the development process. These ideas are shared, discussed and the ones that we can see as improving the lives of our customers, we develop. For details of how to contribute your ideas, please contact

Now, can anyone tell me how to switch this flippin’ thing off…? 

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