Why Cutting Costs is Expensive: How $9/Hour Software Engineers Cost Boeing Billions

Eric Elliott
Jun 30, 2019 · 8 min read
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Photo by Liam Allport (CC-BY-2.0)
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Boeing Stock Ticker 2 days after the flight 302 crash. The price fell from $422 to $375 in 2 days.

“We believe this can be updated through a software fix.”

It seems that the MCAS system can fail and send the aircraft into a steep nose dive from which pilots are unable to recover.

In software, slow is fast.

Fast is Slow and Cheap is Expensive, So Why Are So Many Managers Cheap?

To cut costs, engineering managers often rush developers, impose arbitrary unrealistic deadlines, or in the case of Boeing, outsource engineering to cheap contractors to try to increase production bandwidth.

  • Bugs pile up
  • Tests get skipped
  • Communication suffers
  • Developers burn out
  • Productivity suffers
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Project Management Triangle

An investment in quality is an investment in productivity, cost savings, and stronger sales.

What could have been a huge win for Boeing had they not been obsessed with cost cutting turned into a big disaster that took a hatchet to the Boeing brand.

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