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!