The value of your time

The value of your time increases as you lose it

You are an OSS vendor and let’s say you have a maximum of 40 programmer hours available each week. Let’s also say that you have 20 hours allocated to development of the next version of your product and typically spend another 10 hours on product support. This leaves 10 hours for enhancements and configurations that are driven by a customer’s needs. Great, you’re fully booked.

But now it also means that you don’t have time to cater for the enhancements for additional customers, so each hour you lose in the week increases your opportunity cost. So let’s say the first 20 hours are worth $100 per hour but by the time you get to your last 10 hours, they are worth $150 per hour (and spiralling upwards if your customer count is increasing).

So how do you increase profitability? You’ll have a whole bunch of ideas of your own no doubt. I’d be suggesting that you look at pruning the product’s functionality to the most essential aspects. It focuses the new product development to high value functionality, makes that functionality more efficient and reliable, which in turn reduces the amount of time spent on product support. The reduction in product support time frees up a little more high-value customer driven development time.

A similar perspective can be taken if you’re an OSS operator.

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