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The True and Essential Role of Technology

It should be no secret that I’m a big Marty Cagan fan, although I might not have mentioned him much on this blog. I’m forever dropping links to his talks, articles, and tweets into our work chat. Here’s another one.

The Role of Technology

It is plain to see when companies view teams as there to serve the business, versus when they’re there to serve customers in ways that work for the business.

It is plain to see when a company is just trying to please as many stakeholders as possible, versus when they have a clear and intentional product strategy.

But while these differences might be plain to see, that does not explain why these differences exist.

If we hope to close the gap between the best and the rest, we need to look at the root cause of this gap.

Roughly a decade ago, Marc Andreessen published what I consider one of the most important essays of our time, Why Software Is Eating the World. He described why he believed that technology was about to cause major disruption across virtually every industry.

Marca gave voice to what I had been seeing in my work, primarily with the disruptors, but occasionally with those under threat of disruption.

Ten years later, he was remarkably prescient.

That said, most companies seem to have not really understood his warnings.

Yes, they’re all spending more on software now.

Yes, they’ve (mostly) moved to Agile methods.

But most have not transformed in any meaningful sense, and in particular, most have not embraced technology as the business enabler it is.

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One way or another, becoming one of the best companies starts with the senior leaders understanding the true and essential role of technology.

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