Ayende asks How to sell maintainability and takes a stab at demo-ware. Somehow this got me thinking about female dating personae. (Disclaimer: This is in no way intended to be sexist!)
Persona: Demo software. It's her first night out on the town. She's nervous and is working to overcome her shyness. She wears a little too much make-up. She masks her insecurity by redirecting attention to her looks. She talks a bit too fast but she avoids engaging in deep conversation. She's afraid she might look stupid because she's inexperienced. She desperately wants to feel accepted and fit into the crowd. She tries to show off but she doesn't understand the rules by which she will be judged.
Persona: Mature software. She's sitting at her favorite restaurant. She's confident and relaxed. Her clothing is a little out of style but still shows a great deal of subtlety and careful selection. She knows herself and has pride in her abilities. She discourses openly and vividly about her life and goals. She takes suggestions seriously and is not easily flustered by the judgments of others. She is comfortable as she is. She knows she is valued by others and feels no need to be flashy except when it pleases her.
Revenons à nos moutons
Building maintainable software takes a long time and a lot of effort. It takes real commitment to build a productive relationship with the code base. It takes careful planning, patience and persistence. So in my mind the only way to sell maintainable software is to sell the value of that commitment. After all, the business organization will be "stuck" with it for a long time: it should invest the time and energy to ensure the relationship will be pleasant and fruitful even as the world turns and changes.
Kind of like marriage... ;-)