We aren't a software business, we just rely completely on our custom application. (This is the third installment of a series on the Three Myths of Software Projects. If you haven’t already, check out Myth #1: The Features are Everything and Myth #2: The Genius Geek.)

This myth is the most difficult to absorb because it's easy to look at your software as just one more investment. A business leader might also have a strong perspective on the value of the software in the marketplace. (For example: A taxi company might think of taxi coordination software as being a matter of logistics and not customer service.)

Let's explore the following scenario: Your custom application (aka software) is complete, and it's helping your business grow. You find yourself in the middle of another busy day when, suddenly, the application stops working.

  1. Are you still able to service your customers, even if it’s painfully inconvenient?
  2. Does the outage impact other businesses besides your own?
  3. Can you call an outside vendor who is completely responsible for restoring service?

If you answered no to all these questions, then you are in the software business. This is because your application is:

  • proprietary
  • mission-critical
  • supported in-house

Recognizing that you are in the software business is the first step to becoming competent at managing the ongoing development of your company and software. Once you’ve begun thinking about your software as part of your business and not an expense, you can manage your investment more soundly. How you perceive ongoing expenses should also change because being a software company will require an ongoing commitment to development. As technology changes, you'll need to constantly maintain your software to ensure compatibility and stability.

Have you been affected by any of these myths? Got any of your own? Let us know in the comments below!