A lot happens before ideas become solutions.

At ElixWare we want to bring you more than just great, affordable software. We want to let you know how and why we do what we do.

Our Ruminations blog will bring you insights into how we got here and some of the things we consider when trying to help you run your business. We hope it gives you a better understanding of how we strive to better serve your needs.

The First Domino

Before there were solutions, there were problems

The Set
So here we are. ElixWare. Because compromise is not a solution.

When I first had the idea for ElixWare I was excited. Well, not exactly excited ... more like frustrated. Not frustrated with what I was doing but with what I wasn't doing. Actually, with what I wasn't getting approval to do. It's complicated, but it's really pretty simple: my best ideas for improving my clients' businesses weren't getting implemented because small businesses are conditioned to endure compromises.

Some of my clients — ones I've been working with for the better part of a decade or more — missed out on a lot of good software or features. They simply weren't open to the ideas, they didn't see the need for change, or they wouldn't put their resources into providing me the information that I needed to implement the solution.

There have been many times a client has come back to me years after I recommended a solution and asked about implementing it. Yet, if I tell them that what they really need at this point is something different they tend to balk at the new idea.

The Play
As a consultant and software developer I regularly face two opposing forces: trying to get clients to do what was in their own long-term best interests and trying to protect a client from their natural tendencies to accept mediocrity.

Consultants want to help a client make good decisions, but we can't force clients to listen to our advice or to do the right thing for their company. Sometimes a client will have different objectives or priorties than we think they should. Too often "good enough" falls into one of those categories.

Unfortunately, clients naturally embrace compromise and workarounds. Especially when it comes to technology. Since technology isn't their forté they tend to take the path of least resistance. Clients just want to get back to running their business, which is already enough work. This usually results in the "good enough is good enough" compromise.

Some clients genuinely intend to go back and improve an element of a project that they compromised on. But that rarely happens. Compromises are a lot like concrete: they set quickly and are usually too much trouble (in the client's mind) to revisit or change. So "good enough" becomes "the way we have to do it" and then eventually "the way it's done".

 So "good enough" becomes "the way we have to do it" and then eventually "the way it's done".

I'm not talking about true outliers or exceptions that land in the short side of the Pareto distribution (these will be covered in the upcoming "Perfection Is The Enemy" blog post). This is simply clients eating enough of their vegetables so they can move on to dessert.

Most clients are not adept at managing or implementing software projects. And they shouldn't be expected to. Anything that may appear complicated, or that they don't really understand, turns into something that they just want to get over with. This applies doubly for clients who drag their feet or are extremely resistant to change.

The End Game
Too many choices (aka Decision Paralysis) make it very difficult for people to be able make good decisions. This is true in many facets of life, but especially in custom software development. Asking clients for their "wish list" or telling them "the sky's the limit" is surprisingly counterproductive. It burdens clients with the responsibility of defining everything they want or need.

So my idea was to eliminate a lot of the heavy lifting from the client's part of a project. ElixWare would provide a foundation for each client to build on. We would supply a variety of integrated modules that covered the basics needs of many small businesses. And we would allow clients to tell us which of their needs were not met by what we offered. Then we would customize the modules to meet the specific needs of each client.

This approach would be easier for the client since they already know their needs well enough to identify what was missing. It would also speed up development time and reduce costs because most of their needs would be met by the available modules and features.

By starting with "good enough" a client's efforts would result in something better than a compromise or workaround. They would end up with a custom software solution.

And that is how we ended up with ElixWare.

next post: Looking Ahead

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We are a small team with a lot of experience, specializing in software development, design, and workflow, process & project management. We are fiercely dedicated to helping you do what you do best — run your business — without getting bogged down in the mountains of paper and hours of screen time required to do it. We are equally dedicated to protecting your privacy and your data. Learn more about our privacy policy.