“It always takes longer, and it always costs more.” This was the sage advice my father gave us when my hubby and I were discussing our first home improvement project. He should know – his wisdom is based not only on his many DIY home remodels, but a lifetime in the construction industry.
I heard the same sentiment from one of our clients, a custom software development company. In their words: “There are two industries that are known for being late: house contractors and, you guessed it, software developers.”
What a thrill, then, to read a blog post by this client explaining that they can now consistently deliver projects on time, and that they directly attribute this success to the layered accountability process we taught them! Here is a reprint of their blog, a dialogue between the Owner and the Director of Operations, recapping their year in 2017:
J: Our theme of the year turned out to be accountability. Early in 2017, I was really feeling the need to move forward with a daily system for holding employees accountable at every level. The idea was that by providing clarity and accountability, they would be able to lead projects, even from a young age. Our strategy consultant was planning to help us with this later in the year, but I asked him to move it up. I just knew it was going to be key to taking us to the next level.
K: I made this graphic to show the changes between the two years. Drastic, huh?
J: There’s some truth there, but I still kind of hate that. After all, the way we were doing things before is pretty much how all custom software companies do them. It was industry standard – we just believed there was a better way.
K: True. The way we were doing things in 2016 worked for us for several years. And the graphic isn’t meant to belittle that. But you were absolutely right – there was a better way. Seven months later, we’re still refining the process and rounding off the rough spots, but it has made an incredible difference.
J: What we learned from implementing Daily Layered Accountability (DLA) is that setting out clear expectations and holding people to them opens the door to individual and team success. In 2016, we had a senior developer overseeing every project, which meant that they were stretched thin and weren’t able to focus in on any one thing. In 2017, teams were self-led. Senior developers were used more for advice and high-level architecture decisions, not for the day-to-day.
K: That adds up to a cost savings for our clients, too.
J: It does. We now have younger engineers leading many projects. And they are excelling at it. There’s a sense of accomplishment and responsibility that we just didn’t have before. Accountability works.
Thanks, Jason and Kendra, for painting a picture of the benefits our layered accountability process has brought to your company. We are passionate about making a real difference in our clients’ ability to achieve outcomes by teaching our operating system of layered accountability. Your story confirms that we are doing just that.