Olympics for Software Development?

by John W. Stout

When I meet new prospective customers, I'm frequently asked what distinguishes or differentiates my company from all of the other software development consulting and tech staffing companies out there.

It's a fair question, and for the longest time I did not have an answer that seemed much different than what any other similar company was claiming.

I understand that there are a lot of talented software development people out there, and many fine consulting groups, so I don't feel like I can boast that my company has THE BEST software developers. Is there some Olympics for software developers? Do mine all have gold medals?

I also understand that there are a lot of proven software development processes out there. A company that implements any process at all is likely to be successful in getting work done. My staff includes Microsoft Certified Pros, certified Scrum Masters, and PMI certified project managers, too, but are they THE BEST?

So what does distinguish Stout Systems from other companies out there?

Eventually, it was my own customers that answered the question. They told me that what differentiates my company from others is our use and consistency of the fundamental in any relationship: communication.

That was the answer I was looking for.

After hearing this, I looked back over my 30 years in the industry and realized that the primary failure of software projects and even technological advancements has not been a technological one, it has been communication breakdowns.

Of course there are many things that can go wrong out there. When objectives are unknown, unarticulated, disagreed upon, misunderstood, or just lost in the shuffle then how can they be achieved?

I have studied and trained in communication, and so have our long-time staff. Throughout the years, our effective communication has always been the path to every solution.

We have consistently opted for a flexible, virtual model that requires personal discipline and a certain entrepreneurial spirit from our individual team members, keeping them focused on the customer’s business objectives as they work at their craft.

As a group, we have remained relatively “technology-agnostic.”

That’s how we’ve set ourselves apart in the industry, that’s how we’ve been successful over the past 15 years, and it’s how we’ll continue our success into the future.

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