Please the customer and the rest will follow

I am a “True Fan” of Paul Graham‘s. His unabashed optimism and clear message of “Customer first and the rest will follow” resonates in my mind. As such, I am approaching this project as a I would one of his startups.

Before I even began brainstorming about any technical aspects of the program I was about to write for COS, I asked myself “Am I ready for this?”. I wanted to assure myself that I would go into this project full steam. I was confident in my programming knowledge and administration skills, but was I ready to commit to this full-time project? Then, I realized that the doubts about my own commitment were not the only ones I had. Were my customers also ready for this project?

I called a conference with the lead physician and head nurse to make sure that THEY were also committed. I told them that if they wanted the best product possible, I would require lots of input, opinion and correction; that this would be an involved process with many iterations, about which they would be queried often. They were overjoyed. It was clear that with the experience they had had with our previous EMR, the prospects of having input on the software they purchase was a novel and welcome notion.

After this conversation, I realized that my job had become orders of magnitude easier. If my goal was to please the customer, and the customer was chomping at the bit to tell me exactly what they want then the rest was a matter of implementation.

2 Responses to “Please the customer and the rest will follow”

  1. Marcia Orlowski Says:

    Yes! promise based management, a phrase used for what you described, and disciplined entrepreneurship are keys to the essence of execution. Here is an HarvardBusinessReview article written by Sull and Spinoza.

    http://www.gregoryneilassociates.com/articles/promise_based_managment.pdf

    Once the assumptions, roles, outcomes, etc are clear and the commitments are declared, execution is what it is all about. You keep managing your actions and those of the customer ongoing as changes and opportunities come into play.

    • orlowski Says:

      Marcia,

      Thanks for the link, it looks like a good read. I will be sure to comment on it after I digest the delicious meal of spaghetti and meatballs my sister has made.

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