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Investing in Understanding

As we get started developing a custom software product, and throughout the life of its creation, enhancement, and maintenance, it’s crucial that the whole team has a full understanding of the value it’s intended to deliver. Software is a creative medium. Each developer will encounter hundreds of tiny decisions to complete a single task, so if the team is focused on completing tasks instead of its purpose, the product will slowly “do what it’s supposed to” without fulfilling the vision of the stakeholders.

To combat this drift in intention, Engage invests in processes which highlight a team’s purpose (including vision, mission, and indicators), context (including skills, boundaries, and interactions), and alignment (including working agreements). We spend time documenting the long-term value of the product (vision), as well as the initial plans (mission), so the whole team knows where they’re heading.

We prefer to start these engagements with a dedicated “discovery” period, where we’re focused on learning and understanding our partners, their business, and their customers. This enables us to give a much more meaningful timeline estimate; however, more importantly, it gives us the context to make decisions that meet the heart and culture of our partners, to highlight their unique expertise.

We create solutions that focus on people and their context. At a root level, these solutions meet the needs of those affected by the software, driving satisfaction and efficiency in ways that are hard to achieve when designing solely at a “user” or “persona” level. Designing software with the diversity of humanity in mind produces results which are accessible, friendly, and loved, while still focused on delivering the primary goals.

It’s worth it to spend the necessary time to develop a complete understanding of everyone connected to the custom software we’re building, from the decision makers to the support team to the day-to-day operators. Satisfaction, direction, and ultimately value come from an in-sync team able to make decisions aligned to its purpose.

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