The business strategies used at DevBridge have been forged through the grueling and millennium lasting conference calls and thirty person meetings with the marketing department at the helm. Ok, maybe I’m being just a tad facetious. Marketing has a place in an organization, but we’re big on the theory that a product should market itself through its features and uniqueness.
What sets us apart from other medium sized firms is our rapid no-nonsense development approach. Conceptualizing ideas, quickly weighing the benefits and going right to development and deployment is something that would make some corporate marketing and IT departments self combust in flaming fireballs. A tedious and wasteful process is unfortunately the norm in the industry and we deal with these companies on a daily basis.
Part of our role as business consultants is to tell people that their branding campaign that they just spent tens of thousands of dollars on means nothing without the meat and potatoes: the tool, the service, or the product. Look at Skype, Facebook, and Twitter – do you honestly believe marketing played a large role in the success of these mammoths? Function first – marketing later. I can’t peacefully watch my daily dose of Kardashian Sisters without hearing every other sixty year old newscaster drop free advertising by asking you to follow their news on Twitter.
I apologize, I’m drifting off target. We like to think of software development in terms of this algorithm:
There’s nothing revolutionary in this approach, yet for some reason people are inherently susceptible to getting stuck in the little nook between concept and development. Perhaps it has something to do with the unease of taking action and claiming responsibility for failures, yet I can’t think of a worse thing that drawn out, stuck in limbo planning stages. In our experience first-to-market is the only advantage available in the modern software development landscape. Aggressive development fueled by continuous feedback creates a flexible and efficient environment where the users of the software provide the so needed growth nutrients. The initial concept might mutate in front of your eyes as your target audience will actually perceive a different value in the tool than you originally planned or thought of. Stay on your toes – that’s a sign you need to shift your goals and adapt. This is the time to tell your marketing department to go kayaking, because more than likely they will try to shift the focus back to the original spec.
We walk the talk with our own mutant child – ConceptFeedback.com. The idea was born out of a need to get unbiased opinions on graphic designs, marketing concepts, and usability of sites and tools that were in their infancy stages. Pixel pushing syndrome aside, clients are usually very emotionally vested in their projects and are unable to clearly state what they dislike or would like to change. Getting a third party involved (a third party of opinionated, passionate and creative individuals) is the most logical step… yet there were no such services out there.
We brainstormed the concept with Andrew Follett, established the minimalistic criteria that was needed for this type of service to be useful and got the site up and running within a month. Fast forward a couple of months and we’re close to 1500 users. We are receiving requests for features and input on a daily basis and are on the verge of deploying an updated version. The irony is that the tool itself is a physical interpretation of the algorithm I speak of in this same blog post – develop, get feedback, develop again. The “must have” features we were planning for version 2 are now on the “Someday” list as real use and need has been created by the social aspect of the tool.