What's good for the goose...

... isn't always good for the gander.

A reader recently shared with me a post they had seen on LinkedIn ranting against development agencies:

“Software development agencies won’t validate your business idea, they won’t tell you what to do or to stop. They will execute what you ask of them. You will pay for support and bug fixes. Stuff gets done when it gets done. They won’t tell you no.”

It went on to explain that “it’s not limited to software development agencies, the nature of service providers often involves misaligned incentives.”

In general, I agree. The way most software development agencies are run, their incentives are misaligned with that of your business. They aren’t doing what’s best for your company.

But you know what?

This problem isn’t limited to development agencies.

It’s true of employees, too.

Yesterday when I challenged the idea that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, it was an example of this.

The choice to use a particular vendor may be the career-safe choice, while not being what’s best for the company.

Now I don’t want to be entirely cynical here. I don’t think people are always overtly selfish and out to screw their employers.

However, I do think that when the company’s goals and an individuals goals don’t perfectly align (and they almost never do), most people will show a preference for their individual goals. This is human nature, and not something relegated to agencies.

It’s also something we can’t avoid, so we probably shouldn’t try. Instead, we need to find ways to work in light of this fact, and align goals when appropriate.

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