Using McDonald's recipe for success in software development

McDonald's restaurants have been on the come back. Returning from years of being cast aside for being unhealthy, unpleasant, and unappetizing food. However, even I have noticed their recent turn around in Australia. With a significant marketing effort advertising their healthy food range, increased choices with chicken related items, McCafe's, better shop fittings, and increased operating hours, McDonalds have become my preferred last food source; a place a would go when no appealing restaurants are nearby or if I don't feel like cooking.

The resurgence of McDonald's is no accident. The company have been focused on the five P's - people, products, place, price, and promotion. It is a simple slogan that is really just an updated 4 P's of marketing. It is a far more externally focused goal when compared to other business analysis tools such as Porter's 5 forces. By adding people into the mix McDonald's have re-oriented their focus on making sure people want to come to their restaurants as often as possible. When that is achieved the normal 4 P's of marketing takes over and ensures that the customer can find something to buy (products), feel comfortable buying (place, price), and if they have doubts, be given incentives to buy (promotion).

For software developers the 5 P's also applies and can be used as a quick evaluation tool to see just who the intended users are (people), how will the software appeal to them (product), where they will be able to find your products (place, distribution), how affordable your product will be (price), and how will you create desire for the product (promotion). Testing any idea using these basic concepts should prevent software developers just creating mindlessly with no end goal.

The 5 P's won't be applicable everywhere as for some personal projects the ability for the product to make profits or gain market share may not be a primary goal. However if you want to pursue a career in software or in any business knowing just how you intend to deliver your products and/or services to customers is always preferable to relying on blind luck.


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