Many people have often heard of or referred to the Iceberg Illusion of Success. Basically, you see a successful person and all the outward representations of their success, but you only have a surface-level understanding of what it took to get there. Success takes hard work, perseverance, discipline, failure, sacrifice, and so many other trials and tribulations. We have a tendency to never acknowledge what went into creating success. Here at stable|kernel we have our own version of the Iceberg Illusion. At times, it can be challenging to communicate to our clients the enormous amount of work that goes into building their software, especially the ones who might not have a technical background, but we get to play a unique role as their mobile software partner and uncover the technical side of development.
With these types of clients, we often hear the phrase, “How do you do that?” We sit at our desks, work toward a sprint, do some magic, ask a few questions over the course of the sprint, do a little more magic, then hand them a really awesome new feature or functionality. Our clients know there is a lot more that goes into the development process, but they will never fully understand; frankly they don’t need to. They have partnered with us to be the ones who know all the behind the curtain “magic.”
The thin veil that cloaks the monster below
It is important to acknowledge the waterline of the iceberg. The waterline helps to distort and hide the berg below the surface. We are always looking for ways to improve the clarity of the water line. Our goal is for clients to understand the work that goes into their product. We want them to become more closely connected with the project, and be a part of the development. We want them to see what we do on a daily or weekly basis, but we aren’t asking our client to dive in the water and understand every angle. They need to have a of sense of the overall effort. As consultants, we need to communicate what we do in a way that everyone can understand and see the value.
So how do we better communicate? How do we reach this waterline?
The Beast Beneath
Where the magic happens
What you don’t see. How do we convey to our clients the complexity of our software development process? How do we show them the hard work, countless hours, years of training, trials and errors. It is often hard for us to convey just how much time and energy we put into client projects?
We can confidently say there is a lot below the surface. Does that fully convey the point? No, not at all. We must continually show the work we do. We have to talk about it. Debate about it. Ask our client extremely detailed technical questions to challenge the goals they are trying to reach with software. Our clients have to ask us, “How did you do that?” And we have to answer honestly. We have to educate our clients, we have to show them below the surface: the nitty gritty of it.
Most of our clients don’t see the 17 designs we tried and threw out before the one that hit the nail on the head. They never even heard about the 3 internal meeting where the designer walked through the designs with the team and collected all their criticisms, suggestions, and edits. They weren’t there with our developers when they are constantly reading industry articles about development best practices. They didn’t fly across country to the conferences that our teams attended to hone their skills. They don’t see the failed builds, the merge conflicts, the countless bugs that were squashed. The truth is we shield these details from our clients. Maybe it is because we are insecure, maybe it is because we feel they don’t need to know, maybe we tend to forget that it’s all part of the process. The truth is that it is all part of the process.
We’re your mobile software partner
We are constantly training and retraining ourselves exploring tools every year to sharpen our communication, streamline development, and be more creative. We push iOS developers to learn Android, and backend devs to learn front end. We have our founder program with each developer weekly. Every team member is expected write blogs and speak at conferences. Every team member is required to attend conferences. Every month, we have lunch and learns to learn about a new technology like Flutter. The list goes on. Every part of our team is infused into every project and working hard to make ourselves better.
Here at s|k we often reflect on what it is we do, how we can do it better, and what can make it a better more transparent experience for both our team and our clients. We are so much more than meets the eye.