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    Keeping Promises

    By Michael Manzo
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    As an entrepreneur, it’s an amazing feeling when your customers tell you that your business is delivering something unique. I recently had this happen and wanted to share the anecdote.

    I was recently introduced to a potential new customer looking to build a software product for a new business. The contact who introduced us joined us on a call in which I was describing how we typically engage with customers when defining and building a “minimum viable product (MVP)”.

    I stated that CodeStringers does a couple of things that most other outsourcers do not:

    1. We don’t charge for discovery. When an entrepreneur wants to build a software product, that product needs to be clearly defined as the product definition ultimately translates into an estimate of effort, duration and budget. Most outsourcing companies charge for this. In most cases, however, CodeStringers does this work for free. Why? First of all, it’s because we think it’s the right thing to do. Our customers shouldn’t have to pay us until we mutually agree on exactly what we’ll be building. Secondly, we do so because we see discovery as an investment in the partnership between us and the client.
    2. Lastly, we view the discovery phase as a chance for both the client and us to evaluate each other. This approach aligns with our “no a-hole” policy, meaning if potential clients don’t align with our corporate values, we prefer not to work with them.
    3. Once we generate a release plan and an estimate, we commit to it. If the client adheres to their responsibilities and does not change requirements, we will deliver on the date to which we committed and for the budget to which we committed, even if we have to assign additional resources on our dime. Come hell or high water, we will hit our estimate. Why do we do this? Again, because we feel it’s the right thing to do. I grew up in a family that was big on integrity. I learned that integrity is about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. I also learned to say what I mean and do what I say – keeping promises. If we blow an estimate, that’s our fault, not yours. When you make a mess, clean it up. It’s just that simple.

    Anyway (getting back to the anecdote), as I was explaining these aforementioned two things to the potential client, I stated casually, “I think this makes us different from most outsourcing companies.”

    Then the contact that introduced us (and this is a person who has worked with a LOT of outsourcing firms over the years) replied, “No, Mike, that makes you different from ALL outsourcers.

    Although I responded stoically, I was truthfully giddy to hear someone who I respect tell me what makes our business unique and valuable. Moreover, it was wonderful to hear that our corporate values are, in fact, valued.

    Michael Manzo

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    President & Chief Executive Officer

    About the author...

    Michael Manzo has nearly than 30 years of experience managing all aspects of software development including product management, user experience and interface design, engineering, quality assurance and marketing. Michael has served as President and CEO of CodeStringers since September 2014, having served as the company’s founding Chief Product Officer from July 2012.Prior to CodeStringers, Michael was Chief Marketing, Product and Strategy Officer at Openet, a leading global provider of transactional business and operational support system (B/OSS) software for telecom and cable firms, where he led marketing, product management, strategic planning and growth initiatives for the company. Manzo joined Openet as part of a turn-around team and, during his tenure, Openet grew from $15m in annual revenue to more than $150m, became the worldwide market share leader in the company’s primary product category, and developed a widely recognized reputation as the telecom infrastructure industry thought leader.Previously, Michael was Vice President of Products and Marketing for Traverse Networks, a fixed mobile convergence enterprise solution provider, which was acquired by Avaya. Michael has also held executive positions at Voice Access Technologies, Omnisky (acquired by EarthLink), Telocity (acquired by Hughes DirecTV), and Notify Technology Corporation. Michael has a BA in Journalism from the University of New Hampshire. In his spare time, Michael is an amateur woodworker, building indoor and outdoor furniture for friends and family. Until injuries sidelined him, Michael was an accomplished triathlete, having completed six Ironman distance races and numerous shorter distance races. Michael also served nine years in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard being honorably discharged as a Sergeant.

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