Software ate the world
Ben Horowitz predicted ten years ago that software will eat the world. Looking back, he couldn't be more correct. Software has become an inevitable part of business, rather than a source of competitive advantage.
Companies must be aware that competitors who use software to better serve clients are growing elsewhere. Those who use software to create a sophisticated experience that meets user expectations will win. Those who do not will be defeated. The experience they build is a competitive advantage. Software can play a significant role in delivering it.
It's all about the customer experience these days. Users anticipate refined products and services that meet their sophisticated and personalized needs. They altered their behavior, requiring companies to provide next-day delivery, quick response, and the highest quality of service. They are well-informed, can quickly look for different options, and change their minds when a better option becomes available.
In addition, the last ten years have seen a significant shift in software development. With the development of frameworks, platforms for running software, and AI to assist programmers. It is now easier than ever to create software. Do software agencies keep up with change? How will they adapt to a changing environment to better serve their customers? How can they lead companies to build better experiences on behalf of their customers?
What is wrong with software agencies?
Would you bet your business success on a team that delivers only 20-30% of things right? That’s the average percentage of things delivered by software teams that are usually considered successful. Not only agencies, but overall software teams. Software agencies should focus on avoiding common traps by addressing this inefficiency.
Many software agencies optimize their processes to churn out as many tasks as possible without considering whether these tasks truly benefit the businesses they serve. This approach lacks a focus on best practices for creating products and teams from the ground up, which is essential in becoming the foremost knowledge center in this domain. They think about building stage, not the product market fit as the objective.
Agencies often prioritize pleasing stakeholders and implementing what they believe is right, rather than building solutions that genuinely address the underlying problems. The result is an emphasis on output rather than accountability for results, leading to a fundamental issue—lack of ownership. The teams may end up developing what others think is the right solution, leaving them feeling disconnected from the outcomes. Software teams in those software agencies are just told to build that feature and they do it without proper context. That makes them deliver things that don't solve a problem most of the time.
Another trap is the failure to build teams tailored to specific problems, potentially yielding deliverables that don't truly solve users' issues. This misalignment can lead to ineffective allocation of resources, increased costs, and a common perception that hiring an internal team would be more cost-effective.
Integration is another stumbling block. Outsourced companies often have different objectives than the organizations they serve, causing another level of misalignment. Fortunately, retaining knowledge is no longer the challenge it once was, as the landscape of software development has evolved. Software agencies should prioritize adaptability, being ready to hand off work or onboard other teams seamlessly when the mission is complete. Their goal should be to ensure that knowledge is shared transparently and be part of the process.
What is wrong with building a software team on your own?
Building tech solutions in-house can be overwhelming. It diverts focus from core operations and can lead to inefficiencies.
Building a technical team from scratch can be akin to reinventing the wheel, a journey fraught with challenges and uncertainties. Many aspiring founders with brilliant yet technically complex ideas are hamstrung by their limited technical skills. They can’t take their ideas off the ground because they don’t have the strong technical skills to build out their often disruptive ideas.
Most startups are losing a lot of energy to build teams responsible for their software, while those startups don't strictly solve software problems. They should focus on the transformation of the industry they work with. Is it logistics, communication, real estate, housing, medicine, poverty, goods exchange — technology is here to solve human problems. It shouldn’t be an obstacle.
It’s all about the time of response. Building high-performing teams and aligning them around a problem takes much time. It isn’t only about recruiting but also getting familiar with people and integrating them into the team. Those are serious places that limit the potential at any product growth stage when you build an in-house team.
Not only the early stages are important. Scalability becomes a concern when teams cannot swiftly adapt to shifting resource needs, leading to bottlenecks and delays.
Empowered Software Agency
Software agencies must stop thinking about the outputs and instead focus on the underlying problem that brings their clients to them. They need to measure their success in solving that problem and build empowered teams around problems. Be an Empowered Software Agency.
Unlike traditional approaches, empowered teams measure their success not when a feature is shipped, but when the underlying problem is resolved. Instead of merely being assigned tasks, they are entrusted with understanding and solving the problem at its core, driven by a commitment to enhance your business.
These teams are not just focused on output but on outcomes, with their progress closely aligned with crucial business metrics. They actively plan, set goals, supervise their progress, and continually refine their strategies to ensure they're on the right track. Embracing a culture of iteration and experimentation, they integrate analytics into their workflow, creating valuable feedback loops that provide insights into their impact.
That’s a fundamental shift that makes the team accountable for the results. These empowered teams bear sole responsibility for delivering quality in their products and services, whatever the challenge. That’s an essential response to clients’ needs in a complex and ever-evolving business landscape.
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Check out our Empowered Service homepage and start building with us here.