Strategies for avoiding the “build-to-build” trap


Strategies for avoiding the “build-to-build” trap

Miguel Garcia, Chief Technical Officer, UST Product Engineering

Companies must be smart about allocating resources and resist the temptation of building for the sake of building.

Miguel Garcia

Miguel Garcia, Chief Technical Officer, UST Product Engineering

Every year, companies introduce millions of new products. Some will go on to help a company elevate its market cap or share price or push it into a new, lucrative market. Many others will drag a company down because they were hastily built or created without a clear understanding of the marketplace.

How does a company avoid the latter? Companies must be smart about allocating resources and resist the temptation of building for the sake of building.

One of the most important aspects of a strong product engineering strategy is knowing when not to build. Leading companies can accelerate product design and development through faster, smarter, innovation-led engineering practices and digital technology solutions while minimizing waste.

The cost of building something that does not fit into your market or solve a customer problem can be high. Here are five reasons why:

  1. It’s a sign of larger issues. Companies stuck in the build-to-build trap are likely dealing with larger issues of mismanagement or the absence of a mission or core values. When an organization is thriving, it trickles down into every aspect of operations, especially visible in product engineering. Companies that are unfocused often demand their product teams to overproduce to create momentum instead of making prudent decisions that will maximize resources and drive smarter growth.
  2. It demoralizes the workforce. Companies ask much of their employees, and their satisfaction often comes from producing valuable solutions to their customers’ problems. Nothing undermines employee satisfaction than working on a product that fails in the marketplace and does not help customers.
  3. You will incur technical debt.
    A build-to-build mentality does not solely influence the products you manufacture; it also impacts how you build your internal technology stack and how you address your organization’s needs. Building without a smart engineering transformation strategy is a recipe for future tech debt that will eventually drag down the organization. It also prohibits you from asking whether certain situations require a new solution or merely modernizing whatever existing solutions you already have.
  4. Your reputation will suffer.
    Piling up poorly received product after product has a drag on your reputation. It will obviously affect your bottom line, which will erode confidence in the direction of your business. But it will also cause customers to trust you less to deliver solutions that make their lives better.
  5. Your products are unlikely to be fit-to-market
    Organizations stuck in the build-to-build trap have to cut corners to build and release products at a faster clip than strategy would support. They may not spend enough time ensuring the product solves a customer’s problem. They may not have time to prototype or test the product.

So now that we’ve identified why the “build-to-build” mentality is a trap, what is the best way to avoid it?

The solution is a holistic approach to product engineering backed by a strong, proven framework. This is why most leading companies engage a partner to help them build a solid engineering transformation strategy from the bottom-up.

Working with a partner helps you ask pertinent questions to facilitate the right product or platform strategy, such as:

From there, you and your partner can create a sustainable short-term and long-term strategy, and a customized roadmap to get your product engineering back on track.

When companies are in a frantic “build build build,” mode, they lose their purpose and engineering maturity somewhere along the way. Doing so is not just about losing focus, it accrues technical debt, leads to poor documentation, drags release cycles and hurts the brand externally and internally through the production of bad products and tools.

The churn to build products for the sake of building creates strain and ends up producing poor products. When products are an extension of a company’s reputation, the costs for the wrong approach can drag down a company. Build products purposefully and the opportunities are boundless. If you want to learn more. contact us today.