Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Flint Brenton, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

How to Wreck a Good Product in 90 Days or Less

Why settle for success when you can guarantee failure?

The purpose of this article is to tell you how to take a perfectly good (or even a great) product that you've potentially spent years and millions of dollars creating - and thoroughly and efficiently ruin it in the shortest amount of time possible.

"Why would I want to do that?," you might ask.  Honestly, I don't know why.  But there must be a good reason because I see it happen with shocking regularity.

For those of you who have read my article "Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?," that article was written to help products succeed in the marketplace.  I'd advise you to ignore that article, as it's advice runs contrary to the purpose of this article - achieving market failure.

So, You've Developed a Great Product....
My frame of reference tends to be software - but the principals apply just as well to hardware, any "high tech" product, even consumer packaged goods.  Perhaps you or your company has created the next great SaaS or Cloud software product.  Or maybe it's the most amazing Ketchup the world has ever tasted.  The concept remains the same.

No matter the industry, we're talking about scenarios where you've invested a lot of time and money to create a product, and now it's time to think about bringing it to market and hope that you sell a lot of it.

A Product Launch
Bringing a new product to market is a marketing and sales process (not an event) called a Product Launch.  It is one of the most critical parts of a go-to-market strategy.

Very few of them are successful - only 3% of them.  I didn't make that number up - it's in an April 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review.  And 3% is optimistic - it's based on Consumer Packaged Goods vendors like Proctor & Gamble - companies that do marketing better than any other industry "period."  If anyone can pull off a successful product launch, it's a company like P&G.

If these heavily marketing-driven companies only achieve product launch success 3% of the time, the track record for Software - with its notoriously incompetent, sloppy, shoot from the hip, metrics-free, measurement-free and methodology-free marketing approach is at best 1%. Most software succeeds despite marketing, not because of it.

Take a Moment and Reflect
You're an entrepreneur and you've spent a year or more developing a product.  Probably hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.  You're betting your future and the future of a lot of people on this investment.

Or you're a bigwig executive at some corporation and you've spent millions and millions of dollars of shareholder money to develop a new product (or major enhancement to an existing product).  You've made serious commitments to the C-levels and the board.

I am officially telling you that your odds of success are approximately 1 in 100.  Perhaps a 1 in 10 chance of "just scraping by".

Your product will not live up to expectations.  You will lose a lot of money on the product.  You'll quite possibly lose your company or job, or suffer a significant career setback.  Other people in the organization will be impacted.

How to Succeed?
Now is where I shift the tone of this article and tell you how to succeed, right?  Umm, no.  My goal is to deliver on the promise I made in the title - how to pretty much eliminate any chance of success and how to reduce the odds of "just scraping by" from 10% to perhaps 1%.

In writing this article, I am reflecting back on 25 years of life in the software industry.  I'm digging up some memorable disasters, stripping out anything that was done right, and distilling all of that badness into a small number of actionable things that you can do to guarantee product failure.

Product Failure
Note that I didn't say "product launch failure" - I said "product failure."  If the product launch process is unsuccessful, the product will fail.  That's the way it works.

I'm not making that up.  Check around - Google the term "product launch definition."  Pragmatic Marketing - a champion of bringing real, grown-up, measurable and effective marketing to the software industry defines it as "the process of bringing a product to market in such a way that it generates sales velocity." No sales velocity = no success.

Note: Avoid browsing the Pragmatic Marketing website. It is chock-full of "best practices," and other such things that are focused on maximizing success.

What do I mean by "product failure" - the product doesn't sell. Sales of the product don't meet expectations. The commitments made to investors, the board, C-levels are broken.  Money that is spent on staffing up in anticipation of a successful product is wasted.

Predicting Failure
There are two major predictors of whether a product will be successful in the marketplace:

1) Does the product do something important?

2) Is there a strong plan to "bring the product to market"?

If the answer to either one of these answers is "NO," then you've succeeded in creating a plan for failure.

Six-Point Plan for Recovery
Congratulations. Rather than leaving failure to chance, you've planned for it - nearly guaranteed it.

That gives you extra time to plan for the "post-failure recovery plan," which is important.  Although I'm quite critical of the typical level of marketing maturity in the software industry, I can say without a doubt that software marketeers are some of the best "recovery planners" in the business.

From what I've observed, a six-point plan is optimal. These tasks should be followed in order - if done well, you may only need to go as far as item #2,#3 or #4.

Recovery Plan:

1) Start talking about external factors - the economy, the competition, etc.

2) If at all possible, get promoted ahead of the "crash and burn"

3) Backpedal on goals and commitments and otherwise reset expectations that were "too aggressive and unrealistic" - get the board and the C-suite to own the mistake

4) Blame the sales department for lack of execution and get the head of sales sacked

5) Shift the focus to product development because the product isn't good enough (this rarely works, but it will buy you some time)

6)  Try to re-launch the product (truly a last-ditch "Hail Mary" maneuver)

Moving Forward
Hopefully I've convinced you that the path to destroying a perfectly good product lies in sabotaging the product launch. That way you maximize the damage to the company and to yourself.

Simply creating a bad product is an inferior option - there's a strong likelihood that the product will get canceled and thus the damage minimized. Or the product might be a sales success even though the product itself is weak (the first three releases of products for one particular software vendor are often cited).

My next article, scheduled for release tomorrow, will provide a detailed template on how to architect a "crash and burn" product launch - as well as a checklist for you to follow, so you can make sure you've gotten everything wrong.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
JetBlue Airways uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-time monitoring of mobile applications. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer performance engineering case study discussion examines how JetBlue Airways in New York uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-tim...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The purpose of this article is draw attention to key SaaS services that are commonly overlooked during contact signing that are essential to ensuring they meet the expectations and requirements of the organization and provide guidance and recommendations for process and controls necessary for achieving quality SaaS contractual agreements.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...