When customer service consumes a business

Recently a software business came to me looking for some help with sales emails. During the initial discussion, they hinted at being a bit overloaded on support. While explaining the big picture situation that provoked their request about the emails, they revealed some details about support tying up development. This was also keeping them from […]

Critical process testing: Both expensive and cheap.

How do you perform critical process testing? Critical processes are sensitive to any failure, not just the major ones we tend to worry about most. When your products get out into the real world, they encounter a mix of simple, complex and very complex environments. Likewise, they are often used in a mix of simple, […]

Ask great questions

I’m always looking for better questions to ask. Good questions educate me about a situation or a mindset someone is in and help me understand where they’re coming from. Great questions can open the mind of the person you ask the question of. They tend to create discussions that create slight momentum shifts toward changes previously […]

You aren’t the business owner you need to be

A while back, I had a conversation with the CEO of a $60 million software company that hit me pretty hard – and the lesson is one that all business owners need to keep in mind. This CEO was talking about how he feels constant pressure to improve himself so that he can be ready to […]

Customer relationships – Do yours mature and adapt?

One of the things that separates people from most machines and systems is their ability to adapt their interactions as the relationship matures. A tough-as-nails 61 year old grandfather who supervises workers on an oil rig in North Dakota’s Bakken adapts his communication to the recipient when training a new guy to stay alive on […]

Perfect is the enemy of done – or is it?

A couple of weeks ago, NASA celebrated the one year anniversary of Curiosity Rover landing on Mars. As someone who has been taking pictures since the ’60s, I still find it amazing that we can tell a satellite orbiting Mars to take a picture of a Jeep-size spacecraft parachuting to its landing 62 million miles away […]

Things a software vendor should never say

photo credit: Simone Lovati Are you damaging the relationship with your customers when you respond to their requests for help? If the staff receiving feedback reacts to bug reports and questions as if they’re a personal insult, you probably are. Snarky remarks, veiled insults and/or disdain have no place in the feedback loop, yet they […]

What to do if you aren’t ready

photo credit: josemanuelerre If you ask anyone who has kids how long you should wait before having kids, you’ll probably get an answer like: “You’re never really 100% ready, so if you want kids, just have one.” The same goes for the things you’re not doing in your business. We always think we need one […]

Whats coming sooner than you think? The R word.

photo credit: Keoni Cabral What’s coming sooner than you think? Retirement. Don’t run away, 20 and 30-somethings. Even if you’re 22 and three years into your new business, these issues should be on your mind unless you want to do more or less exactly what you’re doing now for the next 30-40 years. We’re talking […]