It’s About the Business, You – The “Wow” Factor (Part 1)
June 30, 2005 2 Comments
You’ll note that while I had the opportunity, I resisted the temptation to borrow from the Clinton-for-President first-term slogan, adding the word “stupid”. I don’t consider readers (especially of this stuff) stupid.
I don’t consider technical people stupid. Sometimes we can be too focused, though. I don’t consider business or product people stupid, either. Sometimes we can be too set in the status quo of business operations.
One of my favorite things to say in life and work: “we all have our gifts”. Combining our gifts leads to successes. Hence, no one is “stupid”; we can all make a contribution.
The use of the trailing “stupid” in the original quote was uttered as an insult and later became the motivation for the staff running the Clinton campaign. I used it because it was an attention-grabber, and in a way, lets me crystallize your attention on the real content of this article series.
I say this a lot too: software development is not the solution to a business problem. Yes, software can contribute to business solutions; including task automation, security, integration across boundaries and the like. However, software, platforms and developers don’t solve business problems by themselves. It is the careful design and orchestration of business assets, applications, processes and users that solve business problems.
I’m also fond of saying that it is of critical importance that those involved in the software development process demonstrate business value (i.e., ROI) to our business owners; these are the folks who buy us these wonderful tools and toys that stock the playgrounds in which we work every day. Do developers get this? I think they do most of the time, but definitely not all the time.
Let me ask this question: Is it easier to get a developer or a business owner to say “wow”?
The answer: Developers, by a long shot. It’s not that we’re all that easily impressed, or simple, or anything the least bit negative. It’s also not that business owners are difficult to impress: there are just different factors that activate our “wow reflex”. Most developers get this, I think.
So, what is the “wow” factor? A developer can prototype a developer “wow” somewhere between minutes or hours. Some “wow” candidates are available for download in seconds. It takes a village (okay, now I’m teasing), that is, a team of developers a number of days to prototype a business owner “wow”.
Two things to note:
- The business owner “wow” at the prototype stage may be more like “hmm”.
- To get this “hmm” will likely include multiple projects, integration with back-end systems, a fair amount of research and a small amount of pain.
The real business owner “wow” comes when a system is fully designed, built and integrated with other business systems. This can take weeks, months or years from concept to completion, and requires the ongoing support from the business owners for the project.