Many of us have grown up professionally thinking that “strategy” is a word found mostly in military history books and Harvard Business School case studies.
It always sounded like something that directors and brand managers in large multinational corporations would use in their slides and presentations in front of executives wearing expensive suites.
“Strategy” sounds pretentious.
It sounds like a word someone would use to hide his or her ignorance.
Certainly it doesn’t sound at home in a room with software engineers and delivery managers.
When you work in a software company that operates without a strategy, something doesn’t seem right.
Managers are caught in constant fire-fighting in projects.
Churn in the team is higher than what you would expect.
The sales pipeline doesn’t give you confidence for the future and there are moments when you have to sign this next project at almost any price, because it’s better than nothing.
Questions you need to ask yourself
There are 3 big moving parts in a software development company:
When these work in sync, your entire organisation works like a well oiled machine.
In smaller companies it’s much easier to get them in sync, especially if at least one of the co-founders has a technical background.
As the team grows, without a clear strategy, it’s very easy for things to get derailed.
Let’s ignore the theory and the history.
Let’s focus on today.
Do a simple exercise. Take 3 team members, with different roles and responsibilities, and ask them these 3 simple questions:
- Who is the ideal customer for us?
- What is the problem we are capable of solving for this type of customer?
- How are we solving this problem for them?
If you do not receive similar answers to all 3 questions from everyone you ask, your organisation does not have a clear strategy.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
If you are in any shape or form responsible for a software development company with more than 40 employees, you need to spend significant time on your business strategy.