Technology Development: Trains & Hitchhiking

Technology Development: Trains & Hitchhiking

View at the back of the carMost people think software development is like traveling to a certain destination by train:

You set a goal, pack your bags, board the train, and the only variable between you and your goal is the speed of the train. Unless the whole thing derails, you end up where you were planning on going.

Unfortunately software development is more like hitchhiking:

You set some general goals (somewhere sunny), pack your bags and after that where you end up depends on a whole lot of variables: who will pick you up and where will they be heading to? Along the ride your goals can change at every turn. You might end up pretty close to your goal but the further you are planning on traveling the greater the chances that you won’t.


  1. I gave this a thought once, but it does depend on how you define your goals.

    we want to create a great blogging tool > take the train and build that great blogging tool

    We want to enable people to give them a better experience in sharing their thoughts > go hitch-hiking

    as you see in the last example, you are still working towards your goals (creating an awesome experience) though the flexibility of your path increases enormously.

    So depending on how you set your goals, hitch-hiking or trains might the appropriate means of transport.

  2. Peter de Laat

    Good comparison!!

    As a hitchhiker, you can stick to your original goal, but all the time new opportunities keep arising. New destinations others tell you about, easier destinations, interesting “sub goals”, etc.

  3. Heading towards a final beta on our new blackberry app makes us chuckle here as we certainly did toss in a lot of new cool features along the way! Stay tuned!

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