I consider myself lucky to have a varying group of individuals that I have met over the years with whom I can speak rather frankly about products - not just delivery but discovery.  I have seen an interesting pattern evolving - people want evangelists.  Gone are the days where it was enough to be a solid developer, great requirements writer, or an effective manager.  The times - they are a changing - and that is a really good thing.

I was speaking with a colleague a few weeks back who was working on somewhat of a startup and was using outsourced development.  He asked me a seemingly loaded question - 'How come the developers only care about me telling them exactly what I want, then they hide off and come back with something I don't need?' 'Well,' I responded, 'you are working with the wrong developers.'  By nature, the outsourced model is designed to remove any collaboration and focus strictly on savings based upon contractual obligations.  Perhaps a better name would be 'sunkcosting'.

The above scenario isn't limited to just outsourced development or startups.  I see this scenario wherever there is a separation of delivery team from product - whether it be created by the company or by the individuals.

Take this as another example - a buddy of mine works at a pretty hip, larger 'entertainment' software company.  He calls me up one morning fuming. 'Joel, all the developers cared about was getting home.  The launch was busted and they just said they would fix it Monday.  WTF?'

The above scenario has other issues - finding out a launch is broke when you roll it out probably has a root cause further down the stack - but the sentiments are still the same.  People on that product team weren't passionate about the product.  Had they been, there is no way that they would have left their product to rot and aggravate customers until someone rolls out of bed to look at it.  More than likely, with a passionate and engaged team, the product either wouldn't have rolled out or the problems would have been flushed out sooner simply by the team banging so much on the product they are creating.

What can / should you do about this?  Simple - be excited about something and work on it.  There are two types of people at work - those that are excited and want to do / make something better; those that are complacent and would rather not be bothered.  Be excited and passionate, it is far more rewarding.  If you are on the hiring side - look for people with passion and drive.  Skills can easily be taught, complacency is something that will cost you ten-fold to try and remove.

Short feedback loops are not only great for the quality of a product, but they are also great for looking at the dynamics of a team.  Use your team to its fullest - get everyone engaged with the product.  Make them evangelists.