How can a management team run a business without really knowing their product?
In software, you’re only as good as the code which underpins your product. A constantly evolving mesh of logic which, when woven together correctly, performs tasks and creates value almost like magic. To the consumer, the complexities of development may be inapparent. Click a button and a PDF pops out. Press send and an email arrives immediately in your client’s inbox. Ironically (and sometimes cruelly!) the most mundane or seemingly simple tasks require the most thought and development time to actually create something useful for the end user.
Over the last year, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of coding surprises. Feature improvements to our own system which – on the face of it – seem laughably small, but end up requiring major logic improvements and rack up days of development. Which of course, means cost. But this is how we as humans learn and grow. The learning curve of software development is not a single journey applicable to all cases. Each piece of software (or each module thereof) represents a different set of challenges. Software must not be taken for granted.
Getting your hands dirty with software development is, in my view, a key success factor for a startup tech management team. You understand your customers, your developers understand your software – but why shouldn’t the two meet head-on in the middle. Surely working more closely with development makes you a better leader, a better salesman, a more valuable team member? I mean, without a robust knowledge of how a codebase works, how can a management team truly understand their own product?
From business plan to present day, this has become increasingly at the core of what we do at UtilityClick. As a management team, learning how our code works – not through flowcharts and diagrams, but through hands-on experience – has been the key to our success so far. Clicking a button and knowing the functions being performed and the flow of logic happening in the background helps with a myriad of business challenges. Understanding how a proposed feature will impact other areas of the system. Building feature requests into commercial agreements with hands-on knowledge of its technical feasibility. Supporting customers in troubleshooting queries.
As a management team, we know our product inside out. And that helps us build better features, more efficiently, and more cost effectively – delivering them to our customers month in month out like clockwork. 9 days and counting until our next software update…