These Software Engineering Myths Are Costing Companies Millions – Debunked


Back when I started my first tech company, I wish someone had told me, ‘Beware the myths.’ In software engineering, myths are not just harmless tales; they can be costly. As tech CEOs, we’re often racing against the clock and budget, looking for ways to optimize our software development processes. But in this race, it’s easy to fall prey to widely held misconceptions. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and let me tell you, these myths can cost companies millions. Today, I want to debunk some of these myths, not just from what I’ve read, but from what I’ve experienced first-hand. Let’s clear the fog and set the record straight.

Myth #1 – ‘The More Developers, the Better’

You’d think that throwing more developers at a project would speed things up, right? Wrong. I learned this the hard way during my second start-up. We doubled our dev team size, expecting productivity to soar. Instead, we hit a wall. Communication became a tangled web, and integration points multiplied. It’s what Fred Brooks aptly termed the ‘mythical man-month’ – the idea that human labour and time can be perfectly interchangeable. Spoiler alert: they’re not. Sometimes, fewer, more focused experts outperform a crowded team of developers.

Myth #2 – ‘A Successful Project Requires Cutting-Edge Technology’

In my early days, I was enamoured with the latest tech. If it was new, we had to have it. But here’s the catch – new isn’t always better. In one project, we jumped on a brand-new framework. It was hip, but it was also full of bugs and poorly documented. The project stalled. The lesson was clear: choose technology based on suitability and stability, not just because it’s the latest trend. The right tool for the job isn’t always the shiniest one in the box.

Myth #3 – ‘Comprehensive Documentation Guarantees Smooth Project Execution’

Ah, documentation – every developer’s favourite pastime. We once believed that if we documented every single thing, nothing could go wrong. How naïve we were! The truth is, while documentation is important, it’s no substitute for clear communication and adaptive planning. There’s an Agile saying that goes, ‘Working software over comprehensive documentation.’ That project where we documented everything? It never saw the light of day. The market had moved on by the time we were done documenting how it would work.

Myth #4 – ‘Software Is Done When Launched’

The day we launched our first product was memorable. We celebrated, thinking the bulk of our work was done. But as any seasoned tech leader knows, a software’s launch is just the beginning. The real work starts with user feedback, bug fixes, and updates. That product we launched? It evolved so much over the next year, it was barely recognizable. Remember, software is a living entity that needs care and updates to thrive in the ever-changing tech landscape.

Myth #5 – ‘High Productivity Equals Writing More Code’

In my early programming days, I measured a good day by lines of code written. More code meant more progress, or so I thought. It’s a common myth, but it’s misleading. Good code isn’t about quantity; it’s about quality and efficiency. It’s better to write a single line of clean, effective code than a hundred lines of clutter. Over time, I learned that refactoring and optimizing existing code often has a far greater impact than churning out new code.

Myth #6 – ‘Outsourcing Always Saves Costs’

Outsourcing can look like a silver bullet for cost-saving, but it’s not that straightforward. I learned this when we outsourced a project to cut costs. The initial figures looked great, but the hidden costs – communication issues, time zone differences, quality discrepancies – soon added up. It’s not just about the hourly rate; it’s about the total cost of ownership. Sometimes, what you save on the pay check, you pay in management and oversight.


Debunking these myths isn’t just an academic exercise. It’s a crucial step towards more efficient, effective, and financially savvy software development. As tech leaders, it’s our job to cut through these myths, applying wisdom and experience to lead our teams and companies to success. Remember, in the fast-paced world of tech, staying anchored in reality is not just smart; it’s essential for survival and growth.

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