Pitfalls of overselling your capabilities

overelling can cause stress

While it might sound impressive initially, you’d be cutting a sorry figure once the client has found out that you’re all smoke with no fire. It’s something everyone can end up doing from time to time. If left unchecked, it can even become involuntary while speaking to prospects. It could also cause you unnecessary stress.

Overselling is the Achilles heel of software negotiations. The saying ‘Honesty is the best policy’ can’t be truer in this case. Let’s look into the forms overselling takes here.

One of the most common practices here is to oversell technologies that you don’t know or have recently learned. Whispers can always be heard between dev resources who had no clue about the technology the client wanted but then magically managed the project to completion by learning it. This can always end in a bad way. Due to inadequate knowledge of a particular tech stack, scope of the project is estimated incorrectly. Projects then go on a downhill path from Day 1.

Developers are always thrilled about new technologies that they have started using. In some medium and high-risk projects, they end up suggesting the use of a new technology with complete disregard for the risk involved. An argument against doing something like that builds itself.

Fear of the empty pipeline is something that has driven many a developer to take on projects that he/she wouldn’t have time for. Yes, it is reassuring to have several projects to divide your time and work on but sticking to milestones is the holy grail of keeping your customer happy. By accepting projects you don’t have time for, you are overselling your ability to manage and execute so many projects. Learn to say no to a prospect. Productivity on other projects will reduce and you will not meet your deadlines.

By proposing an unnecessarily tough solution to a client’s problem, you are breaking some of the fundamental rules of custom software development. Software is meant to make life easier, not the other way around. The solution must be the simplest way to meet the client’s requirements, not build a perfect product that will meet all the needs an end user might potentially have. You’ll basically be selling more than what the customer needs.

This can also take a much more deploring path. Teams overestimate time to build so they can generate more revenue. This is the most unethical thing a software development team can do.

Don’t oversell your team’s abilities. If the projects require resources like designers or front end developers that your team doesn’t have, it is better to partner up with agencies rather than rushing to hire resources. There is no way to guarantee quality when the recruitment is done under so much pressure.

Save yourself the trouble and just be honest with your prospects about the things you know and are good at. After all, it’s your reputation that’s also at stake. If you feel a certain technology or product development technique can be learned by your team and implemented keeping risks and milestones in mind, tell your prospect. If you’re confident that the technology you are well versed in is just as good enough, be frank with your prospect about that as well.

We almost always know the teams that fit the bill and don’t need to oversell. Write to us here and we’ll help you find one!


Pravir Ramasundaram is our in-house content writer here at ContractIQ. Keep coming back to read more of his articles on mobility & outsourcing.

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