Be wary of how proofs of concept can sneak into production

Be vigilant of what and to whom you have shipped proofs of concept. Otherwise it might bite you in the ass later on.

CTO Protip.

This one is VERY tactical.

Be vigilant of what and to whom you have shipped proofs of concept.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I shipped some code for a customer demo. It was exactly what my sales guy has been asking for. He was excited. 

I thought, "Great!" and just considered it done. I ASSUMED that sales would come back to me with timelines and details so that I could put it on the product roadmap for integration into our larger suite of products. 

 That is not what happened.

About a month later we started getting support-related email from a new customer. It was only then I realized what had happened. 
 We had sold a proof of concept to an important customer, but none of our quality controls were in place. 

  • No error tracking
  • No backups
  • No real security 

The fault was mine.

  1. I did not communicate with my sales guy what the ground rules were for demos
  2. I did not have a template for delivering proofs-of-concept to sales and product managers.

In the end it worked out. We finally built the features properly and then transition the customer over.

Lessons learned: have a process in place for exploring ideas. And set expectations appropriately with your sales, support, and customers. 

No more ad-hoc PoCs!

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