On 12th?March 2006, just a few weeks after I started my internship with?Microsoft India,?I remember reading this?title in?one of the leading newspapers, it?still flashes in front of my eyes, ‘The Unmatched and The Unmatchable’. It was about a cricket match between Australia and South Africa where SA chased down a mammoth of 435 runs with a ball to spare, the highest run chase to date. I was all ears, what?did SA go?through in their dressing room when their innings were about to start? (AUS?batted first, and SA is yet to bat, there is a gap of 50 mins before the switch).?
Back in 2006, a total of 280-300 runs was good enough to defend if you bowl well.?AUS now?had 134 runs more than that. I was sure the players would have been like what the hell just happened. Meanwhile, SA’s dressing room reportedly was shattered in utter?dismay?after letting?what just happened. Jacques?Kallis,?one of the?all-time?greats of South African cricket walks into the dressing room, sees everyone disappointed, and says, “Come on guys, they are 20-30 runs short”. What he meant was, Kallis?was expecting?AUS?to score 20 or 30 more runs but SA had restricted them to 434. There was a bit of pun intended in this message from Jacques, but the whole dressing room burst out into laughter. They then regrouped and got into the right state of mind, and what happened next is a golden leaf in the book of cricket history. That day, I had a profound thought. Mindset: The state of your mind gives you the belief that you can really do wonders.?
When we started Adtech,?we were very clear that we want to get into the right mindset to build and execute product strategies for our customers. It took us a while to establish the culture of a product?mindset across the organization and we are now reaping the benefits.
Here are some of the traits of product mindset which added a lot of value to our customers:
Start with Why?
When we get a proposal request from a new client or a features request?within?the existing client engagement, we strive hard to understand the ‘Why?’ behind it. Often, this is what helps us understand the direction and vision of the customer. Once we know the why, we start asking the right questions. As a result of this, in many?situations,?we have offered our clients feature?improvements. In few conversations when we weren’t convinced about the feature, we went back to the whiteboard with our customers and explained the rationale behind the thought. Through this, we got the strategic coherence back and with this kind of culture, our teams have become an integral part of the customer’s vision and mission.?
Sense of Ownership?
In my personal opinion, this is the most important trait for anyone in the team. Own it up. Good, bad, ugly, we are a?team?and we are responsible for each other’s success and our customers. This attitude enables you to work well in remote teams too. Carrying that flair of ownership for closure, delivery, and quality has been a mantra for us in our success.?
Getting Things Done?
While building products execution has to be swift and ruthless. Things change and they change for good. The execution process needs to be robust to accommodate the changes and make sure things are done the way they need to be done. An obsession for execution and being ruthless in planning has got us into a habit of getting things done on time and with quality.?
Often,?we work with our customers in understanding and contributing to what’s next. We brought in a concept of product management to our consulting?engagements,?and employ homegrown processes and methodologies with our customers. This enables us to understand the product vision better and contribute to the strategy. We take this as the?Alma?Mater, tone-build the muscle of foresight and employ this knowledge across the SDLC in?design, architecture definition,?code reviews,?QA activities, and?DevOps. This empowers us?to be vision-ready and reduce rework as we walk along the path.?
The Culture of Asking ‘Dumb Questions’?
Any question is welcome and dumb questions are more than welcome. Often these dumb questions arise from first principles and force us to break down the problem further so that anyone can understand them. We often say in meetings and discussions, ‘Let us pose whatever questions we have. It is better, the team asks questions than the end-user.’ Leading with questions is the way forward towards building great products.?
Happy teams build great products. Hence, we employ a flat engineering hierarchy all throughout our engagements. People need to be happy to get the best out of themselves and at Adtech, we believe in establishing work harmony as a way of being.
Honing these traits has let us express ourselves as the technology partner of choice for our customers. We are eager to solve more challenging problems. Do you have one for us??