There is an old saying that we should underpromise and overdeliver.  This may seem obvious to us, but it is worth considering in our career and business.  In fact, this approach is one of the best recipes for success in both your individual career and that of your company or employer.

Underpromise and Overdeliver to Separate from Competition

There are many ways to appeal to customers, but this concept is not often put forward.  The underlying message follows these lines, but it is rarely stated.  Instead, we often see marketing focus on quality, features, and other things that are easy to market.  Value does touch on this concept, but it does not rise to the same level in my mind.  However, part of the problem is how to market this idea.  A good example of this idea is to promise that a customer always gets more than they expect.  How many companies promise to always exceed expectations?  This promise sets the bar too high for most of us.  Instead, business runs on setting expectations and meeting them.

A Practical Approach

We talk about how we want to underpromise and overdeliver, but how do we do this consistently?  In my mind, the easiest path is to always move the finish line once it has been defined.  You will not achieve this objective unless you set it and hold yourself to it.  For example, once you have a set of deliverables and a time frame that you discuss with the customer you go back and make adjustments.  This includes changing target/delivery dates for yourself, adding on features, and other ways that can add value to the customer.  This may appear to be a simplification, but give it a shot.  When you set more aggressive goals you will be amazed at how much better you get at achieving them.

Links and Resources

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right-hook (Extended Summary)

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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