Recently I came across an interesting question on Quora that is “What are best responses to ‘sell me this pen?’ question?“. After reading various answers from experts following is my interpretation: One should start by asking questions to the customer and slowly raising the need to buy a pen. Once you have these in place then next step would be to promote your pen and finally sell it. As soon as I got this summary in my mind, I started thinking to link same in software development world and following are my thoughts for same.
For the first point, that is about asking questions and raising the need for pen, as far as the raising need part is concerned, that is something client will take care as he/she wants to launch his product, that we are developing, in the market and increase awareness and need for same so everyone will use it and eventually buy it if it’s paid software. For the questioning part, I have been with developers that falls on both side of the equation that is one who asks bunch of questions to clarify things before starting implementation and one who directly jumps on coding without asking anything and raise doubts as they come which sometimes lead to a system which completely different from what customer envisioned.
Chiefly, new developers are falling in the later technique and one the reason that I believe could be the new Agile way of development. Because in Agile way, our development should be open to changes at any point in time, even late. One of the major drawbacks for such technique is new requirements that emerge as a result of some clarification and affecting scope or delivery of the product.
Continuing on the sell the pen thoughts, next step that I interpreted is to promote and sell. Again this mainly falls under client’s coat, but still there are some areas where developers and mostly designers can help. For instance, designing a brochure for a product that captures everyone eyes when distributed or doing SEO of web application to make sure it ends up in a higher position in search results. There is also a thing called supporting a software and I have seen freelancers and some companies as well who goes beyond expectations in this area and delight their customer by contributing to their success. After all, if the client is successful then that adds up to your success as well.
To conclude, I believe that in a completely different dimension if a software developer is being asked “sell me this pen” question than there are high chances that he/she will nail it. Let me know your thoughts or your interpretations and linking of “sell me this pen” question to IT industry.