The only thing that really matters in software development.

Catchy title? I mean it. After 25 years of programming, the only thing that really matters in software development is if a company understands the project triangle. That from the three variables scope, time and resources you can only define two. There are two kinds of companies. Those that understand this and those that don’t. Everything they do flows from there. This is what really matters about software development.

Update: There are a lot of other factors, probably people being one of the most important (think “Peopleware”). Without understanding the Scope-Time-Resources triangle your development won’t work. It just can’t. You can screw up by chosing the wrong architecture, or methodology, or screw up during requirement engineering or with the wrong language for the problem.

But from my point of view this triangle is like gravity. If you ignore gravity, all else will fail.