Attitude Builds the Great Products

During starting years of my career, I was interviewed by a start-up company. Recruitment manager (read CTO) explained me some complex product idea and asked, "Can you implement it". I was not able to understand those complex pieces completely (being slow by nature in new writings :) ). I replied, "I am not very through with whole thing. However, if it is logically feasible, we can do it for sure." And I was hired.

The product concept and the technologies were very new for the team. It was a uphill learning task. Team average experience was around 5 years (excluding the manager). Still team had done wonderful job. With a team of 10 people, we developed a beautiful product with many complex and feature rich components that also in months’ time frame. Whole system was developed on self-validating test workflows, following TDD kind of advance methodologies which were very new and challenging for that 'junior' team. We challenged our every existing belief and drew new lines on learning graph every day, while producing some very interesting product pieces. Definitely, there were many environmental factors which contributed to this wonderful work. However, one of the main factors was the right attitude and willingness to accomplish.

Later, I asked my manager that how he selected me without even asking much technical question. He replied, "I have looked for right attitude in all the candidates and that paid us well".

Other experience: I was working with another project team, a very experienced team having much bigger resource pool. Team was enhancing and managing an accounting product. Product was having some issues in core implementation, due to which we were getting lot of bugs around the years. Course of action was to patch the data or correct the current broken flow of application by temporary fixes. Team was spending many hours in this exercise. Although team had great skills and experience, however, nobody was willing to fix the core issue. Reason, that would need complete rewrite of that component; a critical piece of the product. And it was comparatively easy and less risky to make fixes. Hence, due to lack of right attitude and driving force, we kept on putting hours of efforts in fixing the bugs only.

By now, we already know the difference between first and second example. It is not (only) about skills and experience, but, it is more about right attitude. In second example, team was much experienced and bigger. Many of the members were skilled enough to do right things and do the things right. However, differentiating factor was the right 'attitude'. It needs a high level of 'can do' and risk taking attitude to say, "Let’s build something better even if it mean scrapping existing piece of code. Let’s write a good product, where team can spend time adding value to the product instead of fixing issues and doing plumbing work around the year. Let sit and figure out, how we can improve the things".

Finding skills and experience could be easy, however, finding and developing right attitude needs a lot of efforts. Also it does not end with the attitude of individuals, rather attitude of leaders also play a big role in developing this whole eco-system. In first example, it was the leader who has given weightage to the right attitude over skills, education and experience. It was the leader who has promoted the attitude to take the risk and to challenge the stagnant beliefs to improve the product.

When right attitude is mixed with right set of environment, people take action. They become passionate for the goals, for the things which they are doing. They go extra mile to build what they believe in. A very important element in producing great products is the attitude of people working on it.

It takes whole village to build a good product and a successful Organization, however, it takes a right set of attitude of team and the leader to build and groom that village.

What is your experience for role of 'attitude' in building great products, what are your examples?

People who read this post also read :


Post a Comment