wtorek, 16 października 2007

5 ways to produce valuable software

Mood: Regular
Music: This time instead the music - watch this!

Answering a question posted on the LinkedIn

If you truely plan to create the valuable software you must remember that your targets are...

1. Focus on the solution - fix the problem!
Joel Spolsky said once that, if you plan to make software it must fix a REAL problem - rule number. The best possible, the coolest solution will be bad, if it is just a toy. If you truly make the others life easier and customer surveys are saying that it means your product is good.

2. Focus at users - be stable, intuitive and user friendly!
The solution should behave as we expect it to behave. Whatever you say the MS Office package is quite a good sample in here (definitely 2k and 2k3). As my old IT teacher said… if your mother can install it, without a question and without the manual plus she knows how to use it after some time without cross wording – it means you are there.

3. Focus on the customer - has good value/price factor!
Of course, the best solutions are free solutions, but I guess we speak about the commercial packages. There are some articles, which are saying that there is a rule: “the barrier between 0$ and 10$ is bigger, than the one between 10$ and 100$”. That is a reason why it is sometimes better to provide the complex solution, which comparing to the other, similar things provides simply more USEFUL functionalities (1) for smaller money. Notice that most of users, use just a couple of small tools and most of them are free.
Wise price list may be a key to success. I love solutions like ZoneAlarm or AVG, which are free for private use and cheap for business.

4. Focus on fun - be cool and fresh!
LinkedIn the best sample for me – it is so easy to see if the company worked with some professional graphic / GUI expert or not J

5. Focus on community - do the they space for sharing knowledge between users, listen to them and support them
It applies also to non-web solutions; SAP has a very strong users communities. Microsoft focus less on the centralized MSDN right now and more on the communities, which supports people answering the direct questions. If the product vendor takes care about this community, it grows and helps to improve the product – that is a part of the Web 2.0 movement.
If your product is big enough, it should provide some place for plug-ins and platform for external developers to write extensions (AppExchange from SalesForce is good example).

... and this is it. So simple and so hard in the daily life, where you need work out the common vision of your product; it is so easy then to loose some or all of these focuses :)

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