Weekend Reading: Build or Buy, OKRs, and Employee Onboarding
This was one of my favorite reads this week, on the topic of “build vs. buy” in IT organizations. In SaaS, this is one of the most common conversations you run into, particularly with medium to large sized companies. With large enterprises the lure of building their “own IP” is so attractive so frequently (because they have some resources), yet most of the time they have no real clue what they’re convincing themselves to do. Building something great that truly solves a problem and gets better over time is enormously expensive and tiring. If you’re a services or consulting company focused on that type of revenue, trying to maintain the investment over the long term in your own software platforms is almost always a mistake. Even most companies who do nothing but make software fail.
Running the things you built is even more expensive than building them. You may understand the cost to build a product, but you almost certainly haven’t budgeted enough to support it in the future. Software products don’t keep running on their own and will need to be supported, improved, patched and ported to new technology in the future. If you really want to build, plan your ‘run’ costs carefully. Expect it to be at least twice the figure in your head, and add n (where n is a very large integer indeed).
I thought this was a good list with helpful reminders on how to plan for new employee onboarding. Recruiting and hiring new people is so much work and so stressful that it’s easy to fall into the trap of considering it “done” once the offer letter is out and signed. The reality is you haven’t even started yet. I really liked the idea of helping your new hire get excited about the new gig through rallying the rest of the team:
I always ask my current team to each send a personal email and tell the new hire how excited each of them is to work with the new employee. Getting a rush of emails from your new team gives you a huge confidence and motivational boost. It’s also a quick way to build bonds between the team and the new employee. The stronger the bonds are and the more excitement there is about the new role, the more likely it is that the new hire joins your team.\
A nice overview guide on how to use OKRs (objectives and key results) for goal-setting.