Is cutting costs expensive?

Last Update: 27.02.2020. By Jens in Newsletter

This morning I read an article on “Why cutting costs is expensive” and share it with you.

It’s an interesting read. There has been a time where I would have totally agreed with his opinion. Especially regarding deadlines and the “it’s done when I am done”- attitude. However, when you move to the other side and try to run a company, your point of view might change. As mine did. Sure, in case of a life-critical system I’d test the hell out of those things. But from an ethical standpoint and not necessarily an economic one.

What I learned is, that you need to take risks sometimes otherwise there won’t be business. Without business, there’s no need for software. No need for software, no need for devs. And yes, sometimes these situations have a fixed deadline, which can’t be moved. And you either make it with something and can continue. Then you can fix things up. Or it fails and thus no business with this project.

The catch is, nobody knows if a project will succeed in the business world. Even replacing simple Excel sheets with an app comes with many risks. And nobody knows BEFOREHAND if it was worth the effort in the end at all. It’s all about “will it help us to make more money than it costs us” and the risks tolerance of the participants, company owners or managers or whatever.

This can work like with successful startups for example or backfire like Boing according to the article. Usually, there’s a lot more involved than the code quality. Code quality is just one risk you have to manage. Depending on the type of project it might be a big one or is irrelevant.

The same is for cutting costs. It’s a bet on how much can we lower our running costs without hurting our profit. And about how much risk is the business willing to take. And what can it gain for that risk?

However, most of us do not see that because we are stuck in our craft and love what we do and want to deliver the best epic result ever. The craft rules and we want to craft well. Business? Nah, it’s not my job, I am the crafting guy.

Learn to understand the business side of things and it will make your life easier and less frustrated. The best thing to learn is starting your own side-project with the goal of making money. Yes, making money, not learning new stuff. Only with that, you’ll experience how taking risks pays off or not. And how “best practices” might help you get better at your craft but might not help to make money at all. Especially, with a hard constraint of your time. It will open your eyes and you will see things differently…

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