Buyer Beware

I’ve been spoiled. Spoiled in that I’ve had the privilege to work with some pretty amazing software developers in my day. The kind that are always looking to be better at what they do.

pawn shop photo
Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

During the last couple of years, I’ve been reminded that solid software craftsmanship is a rare thing. In fact, there are just a great number of companies that make a good living off of poor workmanship. They do some hand waving in the design workshops, print really colorful journey maps on large sheets of paper and make nice license origination bonuses from software vendors. They don’t develop a shared vision with their customer and they certainly don’t stand by their work.

I had worked with companies like this in the past, but then was lucky enough to avoid them for several years. I guess I tricked myself into believing they didn’t exist anymore, but I was wrong. They’re still out there.

It’s up to you as a technology buyer to own your solution. This means understanding the requirements, the technology and the talent. It also means that the only one to blame for picking a bad partner is you. You need to know when you’re partner is not going to stand by you every step of the way, and when that happens, find a new one.

Bad technology partners are like ungrateful houseguests that overstay their welcome. They take advantage of your good nature when they repeatedly cut and paste their way to your first release. They unpack their 7 different javascript frameworks into your codebase without having an opinion why. They fail to install the software licenses they were rewarded for selling to you so that your website crashes.

Great technology partners are like good friends. They’ll be with you through good times, and likely lots of bad times, but they’ll stick with you every step of the way. They clean up after your bad partners after they’ve left the party. They ask for things that make it easier for them to help you. They educate you on better ways to do things and they consistently exceed your expectations of value.

What kind of partner do you want? What kind of partner do you want to be?

Also published on Medium.