Is your business going to fail because your product development (engineering) capability is in the toilet? Probably not. Are you leaving much success (value) on the table? Definitely.
Maybe you don’t really want or need awesome “success” – however you define that. Growth, profits, fun, kudos, whatever. In which case no worries. Move along. Nothing to see here.
Maybe you’re satisfied – or simply resigned – to being a one-product company, with no real plans for developing any more products in the future. That can work. Even in the long term.
And there are other paths to a “successful” business than engineering excellence. You probably work in such a business, even now. One that has chosen another path, that is. How’s that working out for you? I mean, how’s it meeting your needs?
“People simply feel better about themselves when they’re good at something.”
~ Stephen R. Covey,The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
Even if your business (more specifically, the folks in charge) wanted to take the engineering excellence path, it’s just so damned hard, isn’t it? Easier by far to pay lip service to the idea, delude yourselves and others – like customers and investors – that you’re serious, while actually just futzing around making it look like some progress is being made.
And let’s not forget, engineering excellence doesn’t just apply to your business’ products and services. It’s arguably even more relevant to the way you run your business (the way the work works).
Do I have any advice for those very few folks with the horn for actually doing something about engineering excellence in their knowledge-work business? Yes. It’s spread across the nearly three hundred blog posts I’ve written here over the past five years. Not that anyone’s listening. Which kinda demonstrates my point.