On Janurary 5th, 2010 I start a new job. I've been reflecting on the past 6+ years at my former job, mostly around what to write on the exit interview paperwork. I think I've got some pretty honest truths to share with who ever reads it.
As a Software Development Manager one of the biggest changes the company must embrace is listen to your customers. More then that, the employees of the company must interact with the customer. I'm not suggesting that they aren't talking to customers but I am suggesting that there isn't a lot of listening and consideration of what is being said.
I have seen a lot of features released that really have little or no value to the customer. The feedback that does make its way to the software team is rarely what the client asked for. Any context related to the problem is either withheld or ignored and useless information. This is the wrong approach!
The folks building the software need the opportunity to interact with the customer directly. I'm not saying that Software professionals should be account managers or maintain client relationships. What I am saying is that Software professionals should have the opporutinty to interact with the customer so that they can build the best solution for the customer.
The final point I'd like to make is that simple is better. Build the most simple easy to use feature you can, put it infront of customers and then listen to the feedback and adjust accordingly.
With that I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!