I've included a few more quotes and my thoughts on the book, "The Great Game of Business" and how it applies to what we do.
"… to stay in business you have to be the least cost producer or have something nobody else has."
Being the least cost producer would give you some advantages, but I think being in the same range is probably strong enough for most companies in the commodity world. Of course having a unique or perceived value proposition is always better. But don't forget those costs, you don't want to be throwing money away; chances are, one of your competitors isn't.
Mixed Big Picture Messages
"Compensation systems are the primary way that companies send mixed messages. But they may also do it with performance evaluations… Management by Objective."
It is very easy to set personal goals that pit one person or department against another or that achieving will ruin a corporate goal. If you are looking to create a strong team environment and then don't set "team" goals you are saying one thing and rewarding another.
I see examples of this all the time. For instance, a team works on landing a big client. Because they are compensated on individual sales targets, the points for the sale are fought over. Some contributors don't get their fair share with the result being, next time they don't help the others and keep leads to themselves.
Balancing individualism and internal competition with corporate goals and teamwork has always been a challenge.
Lesson – Reward what you really want and not the way everyone else does it.
Open Book Management
"When I talk about open-book management, I'm referring to the practice of communicating with people via the numbers."
The idea here is that business success is really measure in your financials which flow through to everything else you do. How many people understand how what they do in their work flows through to the bottom line? We give people only a partial understanding and trust that someone up the chain understands how it all comes together. The problem is you lose the ability for the group to participate. Look at the concept of "Crowd-sourcing" that is gaining in popularity with the proliferation of the Internet… very powerful stuff based on the idea that more informed people you have working on something, the better chance of a breakaway solution.
I am not going to quote the entire book in my blog. The point is, there are lots of good ideas in some of the classics and newer books.
Mastering software development as a company means more than building software according to someone's ideas. It means bringing new ideas and ways of doing things into the products you build.
Our value as software developers is multiplied by the extras we bring to the table, the business knowledge and wisdom. That is software development as an art-form.
And there are some great ideas and inspiration for creating our own version of the Great Game of Business.