These are the three crucial ingredients to making sure your software organization drives overall business growth.
Keep the R in R&D
“R&D” stands for “Research and Development.” Growth requires both research – exploring the unknown to discover new insights – and development – building the product or service. Unfortunately, in many companies the R&D department is focused solely on the latter: the organization tends to be devoted to developing products, and scarcely ever explores new technologies. Make sure your R&D organization is accountable not only for delivering your product, but also for devising new ways to satisfy customers.
Measure, measure, measure
Do you know what feature is most useful to your best customers? Do you know what the cost of delivering your most popular feature is? How about the way those figures change over time? If you’re going to improve the business value that the software drives, you need to be able to answer these questions. Build a dashboard that reflects the most up-to-date information about these questions, and it will help you set priorities for future work. You can’t get where want to go unless you know where you are.
Own the product
Make every software development decision as if you own the product. Will customers care if you make this change? If not, don’t waste your time. If yes, do it. The bottom line is, make sure you prioritize your software development efforts according to actual customer impact.
Driving business growth should be a priority for every software leader. You’ll be able to do that if you encourage research, measure your results, and act as if you own the product.