When Cost and Value Collide
This post was first published on my business blog, which I’m closing down now that I’ve retired, so I’m archiving some of the better posts to this blog.
I’ve spent most of my working life at the intersection between cost and value, in that uneasy place where it’s never to clear what path to choose, where to focus, whether to drive down cost or drive up value or do both badly. For the few years that I worked in development my primary focus was value: the customer need; the value I was going to provide; refining the experience. For the time I worked in operations it was cost: driving up efficiency; driving out non-value add; managing customer expectations. When I work on strategy it’s getting the balance between direct cost, total cost and total value right; but more importantly convincing others that the balance was right.
In all of these jobs everything seemed like a clumsy compromise, a messy collision, neither cost nor value survived the collision intact, there was never the idea that the sum was better than the parts. There have been a few times though when that’s not been the case, wonderful times where I was working on the business as a whole; where I could see and manage total cost, where I could drive value and cost reduction at the same time, where everyone was aligned. I think that’s what the world now calls DevOps and I want to work like that again!