As a free software developer I come into contact with a wide variety of opinions on what development process makes for a good end product. I don’t believe the answer is straightforward. Here’s an excellent quote from Linus Torvalds which sums things up nicely:
“Donâ€™t underestimate the power of survival of the fittest. And donâ€™tÂ everÂ make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. Thatâ€™s giving your intelligenceÂ muchÂ too much credit.”
My point being: evolution is aÂ tremendouslyÂ powerful system which creates some very functional products. Don’t over-engineer what you’re doing. Keep it simple, try to avoid second system syndrome, and accept that one day someone may come out of the woodwork with a competing product which is either only incrementally better, or blows yours away.
I’ve had this happen to me. It doesn’t upset me, or put me off trying out more ideas, because the itch I wanted to scratch by writing the software in the first place is now being scratched better. I might join in with the competitor, borrow and build upon their ideas, or simply retire from that scene. It’s all good. It’s simply evolution.