Sunday, October 28, 2007

While You Were Out...

Right before I had gone on vacation one of our sales guys, Trent, had sold a feature that we don't actually have. He assured all of us that if we couldn't get this sale the company was done for. It's always nice to be painted into a corner.

As background, we're at the end of a pretty big rewrite of our product. We just need to do some QA work and minor bug fixing and we'll be shippable. It'd take a month or two if we weren't constantly being called upon to implement customer one-off solutions for deals that never actually close. Meanwhile, the shipping version of our product is an accident waiting to happen. It'll do the job most days if you don't ask too much of it. However, it seems to be the goal of our sales guys to sell it into situations in which it is doomed to failure. This new deal was a great example. Not only did the functionality not exist in the product but adding it would expose some well known issues (namely that we use database transactions).

This was brought up repeatedly to the sales guys and upper management. Their solution was to implement the new feature in the shipping product and sell the buggy version with the hopes that the customer wouldn't get around to installing it until next year. By then, we will be able to put the requested feature into the new product (which should be shipping by then--keep your fingers crossed). When the customer is ready to install our product, we'll explain that one of their use cases requires the "enterprise" version of our product. Then we'll switch out the old version for the new version. Ta-da! Try as I might, I can't find any flaws with that plan.


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