Product development is the backbone of software companies, so nurturing your dev team is paramount to success. Despite this, the knee-jerk response to product development usually measures the KPIs for an optimal go-to-market. However, the secret to productivity lies in numbers and developer experience.
In this week’s episode of Scale Your SaaS, DevStats Founder, and DevSquad CEO Phil Alvez shares the ingredients for successful product development with Host and B2B SaaS Sales coach, Matt Wolach. He highlights the importance of culture and encourages minimalism in software development. Set your developers for success and enjoy the domino effect on your bottom line by watching the video!
Podcast: Scale Your SaaS with Matt Wolach
Episode: Episode No. 271, “How to Make Sure Your Dev Team Productivity is Maximized – with Phil Alves”
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Phil Alves, Founder at DevStats and CEO at DevSquad
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Focus on Good Developer Experience
Most SaaS founders worry about the results and the OKRs when it comes to their developers. Alves believes prioritizing a good experience for your team is better for company success. He also mentions that high-performance metrics ‘don’t mean you’re creating things that make the impact.’
Putting the right culture in place is the first step to ensuring a good developer experience, as it sets the foundation for the company’s trajectory. Other focus points for a great experience would be the developer tools, code review, and collaboration. Business owners should also be mindful of their developers’ burnout, which DevStats helps monitor.
Make Culture the Bedrock of Your Company
Before worrying about metrics or purchasing tools, Alves recommends executives establish a culture for the company first. He likens it to a foundation that will help business owners develop a strong company and product. Simply put, once the culture is nailed, the results will follow.
Additionally, culture is helpful when hiring and training employees. Not only does it cultivate the brand identity, it also develops the people within the company. Culture also makes people stay and become passionate about a company as it helps teams become more connected to a purpose bigger than meeting KPIs.
Talk to Customers to Understand the Problem
Customer feedback is essential when it comes to product development. It’s how you refine your features and ensure your software stays current. However, Alves stresses that founders should only seek to understand the problem when communicating with customers.
He clarifies that software founders shouldn’t rely on customers when creating solutions. He believes that it is the responsibility of software founders to come up with a solution and not turn product development into a ‘democracy.’ While software businesses will have a team of developers, the founder should always be in charge of their direction.
Create Solutions that Target Pain Points
Alves advises new founders to tailor-fit their solutions to the pain points of their target market. When people think of pain points, they usually associate them with sales and marketing, as it is incorporated into conversion tactics. But if your product already solves the client’s pain point, selling it will be much easier.
Features that address the pain points of your target market add to product market fit, which is vital for early-stage growth. It allows the company to have more legroom for other business processes and not rely heavily on other departments within the organization. Note that understanding the market is key to developing around your ICP’s pain points.
Avoid Copying Bigger Companies
One of the biggest mistakes software companies make is to imitate those at the top. This means they copy what tools they use and what systems they put in place. It is important to remember that processes and tools change depending on the current growth stage.
Alves cites how Netflix implemented microservice. He points out how Netflix did not use microservice right from the start. Copying a more prominent company is different from how it’s not a good idea to copy the stock portfolio of another investor. Software founders need to know what works for them specifically based on their target market.
Smaller Companies Have Lesser Bureaucracy
One of the things that helped DevStats during its early stages is selecting the right ICP to target. Alves explains how they went for smaller companies as they have fewer requirements than bigger ones. While it gave time for DevStats to process the paperwork, it was also optimal for product testing.
The Best Software Leaders are Expert Visionaries
Many traits set software leaders apart from the crowd. Alves emphasizes that the best software leaders have a deep understanding of their industry. They are also individuals who are good at communicating their vision to the world. This is why a good chunk of leaders become coaches.
Software Creation will Become Niched
Alves expects that future software will have industry-specific variations. He observed that software is traditionally horizontal but would soon change as companies now shift to simplicity. He also pointed out how innovative tools like AI have made software creation easier.
[7:55] “I want to make my firm like the Disney for software developers.”
[13:20] “I’m not talking to my customers to understand the solution. I’m talking to my customer to understand the problem.
[14:17] “I don’t believe we can build software by using democracy.”
[12:22] “Once we found the culture that worked for us, it just became so strong within our organization. It was something that we could hire to, something we could train to, something that people just kind of felt, and it helped them become more passionate for the business and what the business was doing.”
To learn more about DevStats, visit: https://www.devstats.com/
To learn more about DevSquad, visit:
You can also find Phil Alves on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philalves/en
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/