Now more than ever, tech companies are shaping the way we do business. If Google rolls out a new algorithm update for its search engine, it can fundamentally impact the marketing strategies of thousands of downstream companies. Here are 4 Lessons From Software Development That Every Business Should Adopt.
Refine processes over time.
Within the tech industry, there’s a project paradigm known as agile software development. In short, a minimum viable product is built over a series of development pushes referred to as sprints. Once the product is up and running, more sprints are conducted, soliciting feedback from the project’s key stakeholders. This feedback is integrated throughout the next sprint cycle. Features are cut or added as needed, shortcomings are addressed as they are found, and the progress of the project is known to all involved.
It would be impractical to utilize the agile paradigm for every business situation, but its core function is important: a constructive feedback loop meant to hone and improve a product or service over time. Improvement through a series of iterative cycles helps not only create a better product for clients and customers but also encourages your team to openly communicate and solve problems collaboratively. A report released by accounting consulting firm PwC found that, compared to traditional projects, agile ones were 28% more successful. While there’s always room for improvement in every project, incorporating this paradigm into your day-to-day processes will help you and your team work closer together.
Keep scale in mind.
In the tech world, you’ll often overhear discussions on whether or not a piece of software or app concept can function effectively at scale. In an industry that revolves around numbers of active users and engagement, it’s important to support software with the technical infrastructure it needs to serve users. Facebook and Instagram have robust code bases designed to accommodate millions of concurrent users.
Of course, not every project or process needs to scale to support millions of people. Nonetheless, it can pay off in the long run to consider how a process or product can be expanded and enacted at higher levels of an organization. This can be anything from a project pipeline template to a content development process. Ask yourself: Can this process scale work across hundreds or thousands of interactions? Could it be easily deployed in other situations? Is it worth it to amend the process so that it can? Long-term efficiencies can be gained from looking for opportunities to scale your organization’s processes.
Leverage your company data.
Analytics and statistics form the backbone of the tech industry. YouTube can show its creators exactly where viewers stopped watching a video, in addition to average viewer time, commenting patterns and traffic sources by geographic region. Success in the modern age is lost and won depending on how organizations utilize the data available to them. You are no exception.
Be it customer feedback, pipeline completion times or average project costs, be sure that you are in a position to collect and leverage the data available to you. Enterprise software suites, like Salesforce, HubSpot and most social media platforms, make ample information available to their users. In the right hands, this data can be interpreted and acted upon, helping you identify shortcomings and highlighting your successes. Data is only going to become more important as time goes on. In a Salesforce report released in 2017, high-performing sales teams credited their organizations’ analytics and customer insight as part of their success. It’s important for your organization to track it and integrate it into your day-to-day operations.
Adapt to changing conditions.
You wouldn’t know it today, but Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg adhered to a simple adage: “Move fast and break things.” Following this motto blindly would steer just about any business into dangerous territory, but the message between the lines is commendable: Organizations, especially in fast-paced tech sectors, must be receptive to change. Too rigid of a business plan is the reason IBM is no longer in the personal computer market and Kodak missed the boat on digital cameras. As noted by a Harvard Business Review article, adaptability and flexibility are strategic advantages on par with technology and capital for organizations.
Executives need to be perceptive of changes within their industry and maintain contingency plans. In our case, our founder was able to successfully navigate the change from desktop enterprise software to mobile app development with the advent of the iPhone in 2007. Had Zco not made that pivotal shift in strategy, we might very well not exist. Be aware of the variables your business model is predicated on and be ready for the ground to shift under your feet.
At first glance, it might be hard to draw parallels between software development methods and your business. But by adhering closely to the principles behind iterative development, building to scale, tracking analytics and adapting to changing conditions, you can augment and improve your day-to-day processes, regardless of the solution space you inhabit.
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