Everybody on the team need to care!

This post springs from something i see very often in projects I am involved with, namely that if everybody cares the team will reach a higher state and produce better products.

Caring – a long and painful road
This may sound simple and easily overcome but the reality is quite different from my observation.

If everybody on a team cares about whats being produced I promise you the projects goals will be fulfilled, and provide greater business value.

However getting there is a very long, and sometimes painful, road.
If team members do not care and let something slip it risks the hole project – and risk is something to be mitigated not created.
The team members not caring about the product is essentially dead weight.
Weight which the other members of the team needs to carry to reach goal – namely provide an amazing product!

Caring about something is a very powerful emotion, it makes people persuade others about politic views, religions, or apple products!
Image a team that cares so much about their product that they just want to tell everybody about how amazing its gonna be when it hits the streets.
If the product hits a road bump everybody will care so much about fixing the problem that they will use all of their knowledge, time, and resources in collaboration to get the product in that amazing state once again.

This team will also be the most beneficial seen from a business stand point.
The management behind the team can be 100% certain that the product will be produced with all the love and nurturing a software project needs!
And god help the individual which hurts the project, because the team will fight with tooth and claw to protect and ensure the product well-being.

If everyone in the team cares about every important aspect of it has a much higher probability of become a success and hereby becoming a profitable business.

Creating the caring team
First of all you need to ensure that you have team members able of caring.
If the team can work together and have the needed knowledge, skills, and resource coupled with caring they are likely to going the extra mile for the project.
For this to happen the team needs to have a clear view of the goals of the project – namely a vision.

Furthermore the team needs transparency, everyone in the team needs to know that each team member is caring there own weight and not just wasting their time waiting for the clock to reach 5pm.
If this transparency is not ensured it can be hard for team members to feel that everybody is doing their absolutely best possible to make this product amazing.

To create this transparency it is important to match expectations within the team.
This ensures the team have the same goals for the product and what the product needs to stand for.
This also highlights if some team members thinks it is okay to go for mediocre and not awesome.
Matching of expectations should be one of the first actions done within a team and should be a reoccurring event.

Caring dangerously
Caring, if not managed the right way, can lead to gold plating, analysis paralysis, and over designing.
However this can be minimized by ensuring transparency of the business aspects, because the product is not going to be amazing, from the customers view point, if it is not on time and within budget.

TL;DR
Everybody on the team needs to care about the product under construction.
A caring team, with the right knowledge, skill, and resources, will produce amazing products.
Amazing products which provides business value for the customer will inevitably generate profit.

So can you afford not to have a caring team?

Software Innovation and Business Modeling

Currently I am writing my master thesis as a Software engineer. The subject I am working on is Software Innovation and Business Modeling.
We choose to call the project Software as a Business.
In this thesis Essence, by Ivan Aaen, a software innovation methodology is used as well as Business Model Generation coined by Alexander Ostewalder & Yves Pigneur.
The project looks into the intertwinements of these two methodologies and also with the look at works from Saras Sarasvathy in form of her work in Effectuaion and Causation, and the Blue Ocean Strategy.

The usage of the Business Model Canvas combination with Essence is really inspiring and makes it more clear what innovation is and is all about – creating new products which can produce revenues.
I think that the last is often forgot by innovative developers.
Mostly articals talks about inventions but there are more things to innovation that just an invention; it also needs exploitation and diffusion.
This definition is subject to discussion and I recon that it will soon see a change, my guess is that an innovation can be said to be; invention and diffusion.

Nevertheless diffusion is an important part and can, from my perspective, be helped by using the Business Model Canvas.
Software as a Business tries looking at the diffusion part from an entrepreneur perspective, in our case with software educations, by doing a case study in a new started business in need of an innovative electronic payment solution.

This case study have showed me and my partner that innovative software is no trip to candyland and is a lot of hard work. Within the iterations for finding a design for the technical solution the business model also needs to be assessed to secure that a profitable business can be created from the technical solution.
I think that this approach is valuable for other developers making innovative software which needs to generate funds but also for software entrepenuers wanting their solution see the sunlight.
Also for developers to have some knowledge about business models will help the communication with “business people” as they often are called in developer terms.

This project is still ongoing and as of now the team are working on implementing the business and technical design which was the fruit from the first half of the thesis.