Proof of Concept

More and more companies tend to set up proof of concept projects before they buy software or IT solutions.

Apart from the fact that there is nothing wrong with that, I can see that companies do believe less and less of the stuff they get told by sales. And I think, they are right. Be it economic crisis or greed, to get a deal, salesman simply lie. When they lie they often the don't really lie explicitely, they often just choose words and phrases that can be easily missunderstood or lead to high or wrong expectations. Then of course there is usually the technical part of the story that salesman mostly don't understand well - and they guess or are just happy with the positive attitude.

Well, this is business as usual, you might argue - and you might be right.
But the product features/limits/facts and expectations of the people in the project are a crucial part not only during the evaluation period.

Who suffers?
  • The IT administrators at the customer.
  • The consultants doing the installation and configuration stuff.
  • The final end-users (some of them - they key-users - are nowadays often involved, even if often too late).
All those people are often not involved during the early project phase, although they are very relevant for the final project success.

What is worse than having few work only and a tiny amount of new customers only? When you have your consultants blocked working in projects which are always short before escalation or at high risk that customer wants unwinding the contract!

So I try not to feed high expectations and I prefer overdelivering over underdelivering. In the long run this brings more satisfied customers getting back to you for further projects.

Related post: The truth about software.