Sometimes finishing touches are not worth the time or money

hand using string to connect points on charts pinned to a bulletin
hand using string to connect points on charts pinned to a bulletin
Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

While the examples below are limited, the following principles can be applied to almost any industry. The following questions are meant to challenge people to reframe their thinking regarding the value being added.

Does Your Customer Really Want the Bells and Whistles?

“80 percent of features in the average software product are rarely or never used. Publicly-traded cloud software companies collectively invested up to $29.5 billion developing these features, dollars that could have been spent on higher value features and unrealized customer value.” — Pendo’s 2019 Feature Adoption Report.

Don’t spend time adding low-value features backed by assumptions. Perfectionists often tailor products to their ideal image, not necessarily the customer’s. …


Focusing on people’s strengths can boost productivity and retention

I game piece standing opposite to a collection of eight game pieces.
I game piece standing opposite to a collection of eight game pieces.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

There are many different types of skills. A person in tune with nature may become a gardener while someone with superior rhythm becomes a musician. Software developers tend to focus on learning code and algorithms — not so much management skills. Why are they promoted into positions that require interpersonal skills?

Interns and junior devs spends 80% of their time coding. A dev spends 70%. A senior dev spends 60%. Managers often spend 0%.
Interns and junior devs spends 80% of their time coding. A dev spends 70%. A senior dev spends 60%. Managers often spend 0%.
An imperfect example career path, with a percentage of time spent coding (Image source: Author)

As they are promoted, developers spend less and less time in their area of expertise, until they don’t code at all. To make a higher salary, they sacrifice their passion for doing something where they significantly lack experience. In some cases, they might as well be changing careers.

An Idea for an Ideal Path

New titles like senior developer 2, senior architect, etc. could be appropriate routes for people who still want to code.
New titles like senior developer 2, senior architect, etc. could be appropriate routes for people who still want to code.
An example career path split into three separate routes (Image source: Author)

Some developers thrive as people managers (team lead), so that path could still be available. People not interested in managing others could still grow their careers with architecture. Finally, those that are interested in climbing the corporate ladder solely for monetary gains have an option to continue doing what they love. …


Use analytics to track missed opportunities your customers don’t report

404 Error Message
404 Error Message
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Errors in software, services, or physical devices prevent a customer from experiencing the intended functionality. The 404 error in the image above represents a case that many non-technical users have grown accustomed to, where a broken link has led them to a page that does not exist.

The following sections show five real examples of how errors caused missed opportunities and solutions to prevent future occurrences (Names of people and businesses omitted).

1. A popular beauty website almost loses a customer to an ad-blocker

While shopping on the website, a customer shouted, “Ugh, [company]’s website sucks!” The exclamation was loud enough to turn heads and prompt inquiry from another person.

Clicking the checkout button took the shopper to a partially blank white screen, with no course of action. Advanced troubleshooting steps from a bystander, which non-technical people would not be capable of, revealed the issue. Ad-blocking software had blocked a portion of the page, leaving the header and main menu intact. Fortunately, the bystander recovered the sale, but how many shoppers did not have that support? …

About

Kevin Fawcett

Senior Full-stack Software Engineer

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