#67: Bad for ROI - The Silver Bullet

Today's marketing is full of the promise of miracle cures for our problems. Full of "Do this one thing to achieve amazing results". Full of Silver Bullets. In this episode, I talk about why there are no Silver Bullets in Software Development. Please note; I'll be taking some time off over the Christmas and New Year period.  Listen out for my next episode the second week of January.  Stay safe, Mark

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Published: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 16:44:14 GMT


[00:00:34] Hello and welcome back to The Better ROI from Software Softwoods Podcast, a podcast where I provide advice on how to get more out of your software development.

[00:00:46] In this episode, I want to add another episode to my Bad for ROI mini-series. In this episode, I want to talk about the silver bullet.

[00:00:58] So what do I mean by silver bullet?

[00:01:00] I mean something that is seen as being something that is going to be a direct and effortless solution to a product. It may be described as a magic bullet, or miracle solution, or any of a number of things that seem like they're going to solve your problems easily, cheaply and simply.

[00:01:21] The concept of a silver bullet is quite attractive because it feels like it should be easy, feels like it should be cheap, it feels like a shortcut.

[00:01:31] Silver bullets are often used in marketing, it's there to say anything you want to achieve, whatever it is, we've got this magic easy way of doing it. Whether there be something like weight loss or marketing your organisation, something that can be quite complicated, quite difficult to achieve or takes a lot of effort, somebody out there will be trying to sell you this miracle cure, this silver bullet.

[00:01:59] And you can see that every single day on the Internet, you'll see click bait type adverts where they "do this one thing to achieve ... Washboard abs". "Do this one thing ... and suddenly your multimillionaire."

[00:02:17] Now, in software development, I'd love to be able to sell you that silver bullet. It would make my life so much easier. I could then go on and just record my own "Do this one thing video" on YouTube and then wait for the cash to roll in.

[00:02:36] Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Software Development, like many things in life, are just too complex to be solved by just a single thing.

[00:02:47] I'd be lying to you if I sat here and said I could tell you the one best thing to sort out your organisation. Per organisation, it could be any number of things.

[00:02:59] There are many good things I could point to and say these will be great for your organisation. So take, for example, experimental thinking, changing your team so they are delegated cross-functional teams, implementing a learning culture within your organisation, implementing DevOps, adding team retrospectives, introducing practices like mob programming, hiring a CIO or CTO, even hiring me.

[00:03:34] Each of these suggestions are good. Each of them probably will make a lot of benefit to your organisation.

[00:03:42] Are they a silver bullet though?

[00:03:44] And the short answer is now. Each in themselves will take effort to implement will.

[00:03:51] It's easy for me to say "Introduce experimental thinking", but then there's work that goes behind that to support that and make it viable and workable. Yes, if you go away and actually focus on implementing experimental thinking it is going to provide benefit - no two ways about it, it will help. Anyone of those things, it will help. But individually, it's not enough.

[00:04:22] One will likely lead to another. And it will start you down a journey, so by all means, let's pick one, take one, work with it within your own organisation and see the benefits.

[00:04:35] You can see where that takes you, but unfortunately is never going to be a case that I can point to one of them and say "simply pay me money for that one thing and your problems go away".

[00:04:48] Sorry. I'd love to be able to sell you a magic bullet.

[00:04:53] Unfortunately, they simply don't exist.

[00:04:56] There are marketing and sales fiction designed to entice us into products and services that are never going to do what they say on the tin.

[00:05:09] If it looks too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is.

[00:05:15] That being said, I am available if you do want to talk to me and I'll come in and try and help you as best as I can, but unfortunately, as I say, he won't be selling you a silver bullet.

[00:05:29] I hope this episode has been useful to you. If there's anything you want to share or question or comment, by all means, contact me on Twitter @RedFolderMark or email [email protected]. I've also recently created the Better ROI from Software Development LinkedIn group, so if you to ask a question there, I'd love to be able to see your questions and provide responses to.

[00:05:57] Thank you very much for listening. I look forward to speaking to you again next week.