Dougal worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He has passed all three levels of the CFA.
Golden Section Technology, or GSTech, is a full-service boutique software development firm that offers businesses customized software solutions. Their strengths lie in their speed and low cost of development while still producing the highest quality outcome.
GSTech offices are headquartered in Houston, Texas, where their executive team and project managers reside and work with an international development team that ensures your projects get completed within deadlines and to your standards.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about your multifaceted approach to understanding the issues and needs of your clients?
Dougal: Software is complicated and many software projects fail. A classic book on the subject is The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick Brooks. The primary source of the complexity is the information asymmetry between the people who want the software (the clients) and the people who create it (the developers). We solve this problem by interjecting a crisp and clear communication rhythm between the client and the developers. This rhythm along with oversight and assistance from one of our project managers ensures that the assigned development team knows the client’s goals and the outcome nails the expectation. This method also allows us to provide a range of other services complimentary to software development like support system implementation or even marketing and branding.
BusinessInterviews.com: The development of a cross cultural high performance team has been the cornerstone of your success. Can you share some tips or insights about what it takes to put together a great team and keep the momentum going?
Dougal: This is our biggest accomplishment by far and it is entirely due to the virtues of patience and peace in our US and China team. Cross-cultural interactions apart from these virtues create relational friction and relational friction often leads to a breakdown in communication, which destroys a team. All groups must understand the differences of opinion and background that are represented in order to appreciate the value in those differences. This has implications for how we handle vacation time, the time of the day we send emails, and how frequently or explicitly we deliver feedback. But the benefits of a cross cultural team are absolutely worth it. The backgrounds that our developers bring to the table in conjunction with the understanding of client objectives in our US project managers makes for a powerful software creation engine.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on how your experience and entrepreneurial bent allows GSTech to get very creative on financial arrangements for projects that you’re involved with?
Dougal: I have been involved in a number of small businesses and startups across my career. Cash management is always a concern. We can spend the time to understand the entrepreneur’s goals or the venture company’s objectives, see the potential, and price a solution that conserves cash and allows us at GSTech to participate in the upside. This isn’t always an equity arrangement. Instead, we tie our compensation to a metric that aligns with the cash flow of the company like users on the platform or transactions in the system. This aligns our interests with the client and puts the monkey on our back to deliver what we say we will deliver. The relationship becomes a partnership rather than a traditional “work for hire” situation. We prefer to work this way.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the advantages of scoping projects in multiple phases? How does this approach ensure that you’re delivering the best possible solutions and prevent issues along the way?
Dougal: Using multiple phases allows the client to get comfortable with our development process. We often find that subsequent phases change dramatically as we execute the first phase. This is natural as the information asymmetry between the client and our development team narrows. By making this information conformance process a short one, we ensure that issues don’t continue to fester to a boiling point later on in the project.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in your industry that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Dougal: The migration to mobile is a huge trend of which all your readers are likely very well aware. However, I don’t know if everyone completely appreciates how dramatic this trend will change the way we work and play. I anticipate the “Uber” phenomenon to continue into other industries and processes. Consumer software is often far ahead of corporate software. Most of your readers can probably sense this. The efficiency and ease that they can balance a budget, chat with a friend, or plan a house project at home far surpasses that of similar tasks at work. I expect workplaces all over the world to adopt more intuitive and more mobile software systems in work flows all over the company.
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