In my previous article, I wrote about the importance of transparency within a team and customer in order to ensure a successful IT project. However, equally important is the genuine desire to help the customer. It sounds obvious, but according to our experience, self-interest often seems to take precedence over the customer’s needs.
Let me give you a personal example of this.
In my previous job (where I worked as a client in a project), we had an extensive two-year development project that cost EUR 1 million. The project did turn out very successful in the end, but along the way, the vendor responsible for one of the sections caused problems for cooperation through its own practices that only drove the interests of the company in question. In other words, the vendor had a policy that the project should always include at least two of their employees. As the project progressed, the requirements and budget changed, so that there was work for only one developer. The vendor refused to be flexible and pull the other developer out of the project. Therefore, we practically had to pay for two developers, even though there was only enough work for one.
The cooperation fails terribly in terms of customer satisfaction and sustainability, if we are not prepared to be flexible about our own practices. Wasting resources in such a way is simply absurd. Practices such as the one described above can be useful in terms of employees and the corporate culture, but the system must work for both the vendor and the customer, otherwise the operations will not be sustainable.
Another problematic practice we have come across is the refusal to share the project with other suppliers. Not all customers want to buy every part of a project from the same vendor, and resources may make it impossible to do so as well. The so-called vendor lock-in becomes a problem if the customer wants to bring other vendors into the project, but the vendor in charge of the project does not agree to it. If sharing a project with more than one vendor is in the customer’s best interest, so cooperation should not be a problem. In order to avoid risks of a vendor lock-in, certain key roles should be managed from within the company and not handed over to consultants.
In order to ensure the success of the project, customer satisfaction and the sustainability of software development, suppliers must have a genuine desire to put the customer’s needs and wishes first and to be prepared to be flexible to accommodate what is best for the project. Even if some decisions were not the most profitable for us as a vendor, making sure that the customer comes first, has been rewarding in the long run and has helped Compile to grow.
In the next blog, you will learn more about the prerequisites to success, from the perspective of skilled team members.