Lessons from the Road
My conversations with clients and travels around San Francisco and Silicon Valley have taught me a lot about the value of relationships between service providers and clients.
Do not fail to Grow. As a service provider, do you ask about your client's plans to grow its business? Are you curioius about their short-term and long-term goals? Do you ask them what else they might need from you or what they'd like to have? As a client, do you trust your software delivery partner enough to expect that you would be able to achieve some sort of joint innovation in the long-term or is it really just about cost savings? I have been privileged
to have worked to be working with clients who believe that the "world is flat now", who "treats the whole world as a market," and who understands the value of "success together". Now, I make it a habit to help solve their problems.
Open Door policy. How transparent is your service provider? Are all team members encouraged to discuss directly with clients whenever they feel the need to ask questions or clarify something? In certain cases, it is the lack of communication that is the reason behind software project failures. On the contrary, it can also be a differentiator. Rob Stevens, Co-Founder and Director at TrueTime, a fully automated time capture solution, shares: "Unlike most providers in the minefield that is off-shore development, your strength over and above your competitors is strong communication with the client. This equates to you actually delivering."
A Leap of Faith. Clients who knock at our doors don't trust us whole heartedly, so we have to work on this trust issue, every step of the way. I mean this in the general sense. Open the door to understanding your client's challenges and environment first before pitching. If you are the client, do your due diligence and go out of your way to meet the management and key people of the service provider's team. As one industry peer says, agile outsourcing is just like marriage. I'm still wondering if I should call it "lucky" when clients take the leap of faith, but knowing that (they did) really makes me happy.
Many thanks to Rob, Srijon, Moricz, and Diane for your insights.