As a leader in the software services, we at Mindbowser are always asked what differentiates us in this massive industry. What would be different in working with us than others?
If one is researching a particular product, there are various metrics such as product use, product positioning, rating, etc. that can be used to choose what fits. However, in the service industry, this kind of differentiation is contrary to reason because services have nothing tangible in nature. Services are unique and can only be differentiated by experience.
Many times customers would tell me that they just found someone who is offering to work at half the price and in half the time. In response to this, I generally ask if they are really convinced that the other person has interpreted the requirements and use cases correctly? Did they have a deeper level of conversation like the one we always have to really understand end goals and expectations?
Unsurprisingly, I always found the answer to be a resounding no. Reflecting upon this inspired me to write this article describing the differences between a 1000$ service and a 10000$ service.
I believe three things really are different in the context of the software industry between agencies.
Imagine you want to have authentic Italian food. Now you have two options – the Italian authentic restaurant and a casual restaurant that just happens to serve Italian cuisine. There are apparent differences between what you experience at an authentic food place vs a run of the mill restaurant. There is a difference of authenticity in taste, accuracy of a recipe, quality of ingredients, etc. that make the overall flavour completely different.
This is exactly how it is for code as well. Good Code is like those recipes and ingredients of your idea. Do not get into the myth of accepting shit code just because it was fast. A good developer won’t be writing shit code even in sleep and a bad developer would be writing so even when they had all the time in the world.
Good code follows code hygiene, produces what really was expected and does not lead to bugs diarrhea later. Factors like coding standards, clarity, efficiency, readability, usability and maintainability matter the most if you are looking for a proper software output- the authentic software.
Taking care of quality leads to a better final product. If you want to make a lasting impression on your customers or your user base, it is important to implement sustainable development practices as a startup. The software industry is hypercompetitive, and startups have a hard time getting the attention they need to make it in the business. Proper code reviews can help you get the right head start you need. If you are fighting the war with a bad weapon, you ought to lose.
Some of the significant reasons why you need high-quality code is:
The quality of code is important as it ends up defining the overall software quality. Quality ultimately impacts the security, safety, and reliability of your codebase. High-quality code is imperative and especially important since you can always change the place to eat but cannot change your code easily if not done right.
I am a major table-tennis enthusiast. One of my favourite players in table tennis is the legendary Timo Boll from Germany. Timo has been at the top of the world rankings for several years and continues to dominate the sport even today. Timo can easily perform a rally of more than 1000 hits. On the other hand, I can perform rallies of a maximum of 10-15 hits. Is it because Timo swings any different, or maybe because he wears a different pair of shoes? Will I be able to achieve what he has by buying that exact pair? The answer is obviously no. The difference in us is very holistic and deep. Timo has spent almost the entirety of his life mastering his craft. He can do things that most of us can only dream of doing.
Back to programming, the difference between a good programmer and a great one isn’t any one thing, it’s not knowing one algorithm or not, it’s not about being on Github. It’s nothing in particular and everything at the same time.
Great engineers don’t make basic mistakes which have to be tracked down, expensively, later. Bad engineers can ‘solve’ problems with hacks, which silently trades a fix for an increase in technical debt of the software, which must ultimately be repaid. Great engineers may even take more work to fix a problem but are really fixing things.
The 10K $ service would have more of such people on their roll. Their leads will be great themselves and would be able to attract more of the same. Communication would be proactive and clear by everyone and since English is the language of the software industry, any great team would have command on it.
Have you ever checked into a five-star hotel? How was the experience compared to something at a roadside motel? I am sure you must have been able to see a palpable difference. It is just everywhere to see.
When you check into a good hotel, you can sense the aura and attention to smaller things. Everyone seems to know his or her job and what purpose he or she serves. Each one of those individuals is excellent at their jobs and does it with the utmost care and ethic.
A strong work ethic in an organization builds confidence that employees will complete the assigned tasks in a timely manner not just for the sake of completion but also to provide something of value out of it. A strong work ethic in developers and engineers ensures that they build the right product for you. This is, in my opinion, the biggest difference between a cheap service and a successful one.
Employees with an outstanding work ethic not only bring something of value to the project but also aim to enrich themselves in the process. They never let their ego disrupt their ability to accept constructive criticism. These are the kind of people that take a stand for what is right and what will work best for a client. They make sure that you are delivered what was promised. They go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. This is not limited to just developers but everyone from the support teams to the leadership and everyone in between. When you need to bring a product to market or need to ship a certain feature out by the deadline, the team will step up and get the product released whenever possible. Because they care.
The 10K service would have the work ethic ingrained into people. These would be organizations that work not on training individuals to fit tasks but to fit the culture. The focus is on the bigger picture and broader impact. It’s like the difference between a pro player and an amateur.
Even if you lock in 100 odd engineers in a room for a year, they will not be able to come up with an iPhone. Similarly, the right agencies can help you in getting your product to a totally different level. That said, quality resources never come cheap. There is also a lot of overhead required to keep quality up like onboarding of the brightest people and providing them with the best training.
Hence, when you are comparing costs make sure that you are considering options with this knowledge on hand.