8 Similar Principles Between Business and Software Development

Here’s a followup of my Your Business is Like Software post. It was too long to put there, so here are 8 things I find remarkably similar between business and software development:

  1. Assumptions and ideas are like farts in the wind. Do your due diligence. Then test everything. Beta test the big things. Get feedback. Iterate. But until you test your idea and get feedback, you’re simply looking at a crystal ball. We’re not fortune tellers or prophets.
  2. People love and value transparency and communication. I’ve seen it in actual software and in our business whenever I’ve just humbly stood before our groups and just laid it out on the line for them. Cold, sometimes hard, direct, open and honest facts. And people ALWAYS respond to it.
  3. People value open and honest input and feedback – but more importantly just acknowledgement. For the most part, “users” just want to know you’ve read through their issue, listened and sought to understand it. Even if you tell them, “No.” But whatever the case, you must acknowledge the input.
  4. Some people will jump ship. You will lose people along the way no matter what you do (or don’t). Often, it is better and needed for the project to move forward. The faster you get the habitual-can’t-be-pacified haters out of your software the better. Yet I always listen and evaluate. These are often the most vocal, and bitter.
  5. When TONS of people jump ship, you need to reevaluate what you’ve done. Massive unrest and unhappiness is a sign of something bigger. It’s likely you’ve missed something core in your software that fundamentally needs to be addressed and quickly. Or likely that you are hitting the reset button and seeking to chart new territories. Of course, one person yelling as loud as 50 people doesn’t count.
  6. Forks happen. Just like shit. Some people get really pissed off and decide to fork your software and compete directly with you. Sometimes they just need a reason to poop on you. It’s all in a day’s work.
  7. Competition keeps you honest and sharp. Knowing that others want your customers and team and actively courting them helps keep you honest and relevant and innovative and sensitive with ears open to needed improvements and innovations.
  8. People want to belong and contribute to something bigger than themselves. See: The open source software movement and specifically WordPress. They will work harder, longer and be more happy when they are giving of their time and talents to other people, things, organizations, processes, movements, whatever, that make a difference in people’s lives and where they see their contribution making an impact. We’ve seen it in our software support forums — users helping other users because they believe in the product. The same is true for businesses with heart, soul and a compelling vision of the future.

How else is business like software development?

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