Saturday, January 09, 2010

What's the Score?

Why is it that development teams seem to rarely ever know what the financials look like of the product they are building? Is it that the company doesn't have that information? Unlikely. Is it that it's sensitive information that shouldn't be passed around to just anyone? Maybe. Is it that the company doesn't want to concern the team with all the gory details? Most likely.

The ultimate goal of the company is to make more money. Yes, please customers, employ more people are there, but the goal is to make more money. If all your team has for determining success is "on-time delivery" and "quality", the team will end up building process and metrics which may hit the nail on the head for "on-time delivery" and "quality", but my be of poor value when it comes to making more money. Things like "on-time delivery" and "quality" are both obviously going be a positive thing, but the company should draw the line between these metrics and the financials with the development team. The team is smart, and the company should let the team have some input on the metrics that result in making more money.

Hiding the financials is hiding score from the team. Like a basketball team that only knew how many times they turned over the ball, or baseball team that only knew how many stolen bases they had.

A company can't pretend that the goal isn't anything other than making more money. The team understands that, and wouldn't mind seeing a big fat chart that correlates the fact that they kicked ass to get a feature out in February and with a big spike in sales in July.

The team has to know what the score is.