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Most of the days, we wake up in the morning, brush our teeth, wash face, have a brief breakfast and rush out to work. But, there are some special mornings. When we open our eyes, we start to see the world differently. This morning is one of such for me.

Maybe I have stayed in the development department in a big organization for too long. I was so used to the layback, slow-moving, stable, orderly working style. So, when I had the opportunity to go through a demo session of a competitor’s application yesterday, I was completely shocked, not only by the application, but also by the attitude they treat their work.

We developed our application in a typical “elegant” way of big organization. And they developed their application like a “startup” company.The differences are in sharp contrast. I listed some here:

  • We wait for the requirements being given to us by other departments like Sales or Marketing vs. They go out to talk to frontline Sale people and to customers directly, for example in the trade show, to figure out the requirements firsthand.
  • We are proud of the technologies we used and focus on latest and advanced technologies vs. They are proud of the product itself and focus on how it can satisfy customer needs.
  • We focus on internal architecture design and build for last vs. They focus user interfaces and usability and build to sell.
  • We live with the legacy system and spend a lot of time integrating with it vs. They completely write all the logics in contemporary technologies.
  • We value stability vs. They value innovation
  • We limit our releases per year vs. They release much more frequently
  • We only serve one customer, our business vs. They look for opportunities inside and outside the organization
  • We have never been worried about “selling” our product. We assume the business would take care of it and Sales people will sell it vs. They constantly promot their idea and product to the business. They made the business realize how great their product was by doing the demo, comparing the features and showing the statistics numbers.

It’s a typical example of “fast vs. slow”. In current business environment, the one who can sense the changes ahead of others and quickly adjust itself for the changes will survive.We witness more and more triumphs of the “internal marketing” or “project marketing”. Although we ARE the internal development department, we have to realize the business has choices nowadays. We cannot assume that we are the sole service providers available to the business and they will eat whatever we feed them. Those old golden days for IT are gone!

Business is business. If you would like to survive, you have to go out there and compete. You must build the best product in the market, and constantly market your service to the business leaders. If you don’t do that, the competitors from any corner of the world can come and replace you. So, wake up you old development! Time to act like a young startup now!

August 2020

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