Approximately 80% of all embedded systems are delivered late. That is a huge statistic. Software products have a competing aspects of features, schedule and quality. Ideally a product should be delivered on time, with the best quality and the most number of features. That won’t happen and it’s not happening, as noted in the 80%.
It’s interesting to look how some companies behave in this aspect, even if they don’t develop embedded software. Blizzard, which makes Starcraft, Diablo and World of Warcraft, seems to always opt for quality and features. During development they give the usual “It’ll be done when it’s ready”. Their products are arguably some of the best games in their categories. Fans are willing to wait for that quality, but this is not always possible in other industries.
In some cases, working quality and features have delayed products for a long time. Consider Daikatana, the FPS brainchild of game designer John Romero. The game was delayed for several years and was ultimately released to lackluster reviews. The delay to ensure quality in fact caused more quality and feature problems.
Through these examples we can see that when one of the three aspects is sacrificed (schedule in this case), the other two aspects better be taken care of, at least to an acceptable level. If this won’t happen, the product shouldn’t be developed.