Reflecting on Reliability

As Solspace looks forward to the new year, we’re reflecting on the past one, just like everyone else. The challenges, the successes, the fun parts, how we feel about the work we did, and why the work we do matters. And we’re making our resolutions, asking ourselves how we can be better in 2023. Have we kept our agreements and been accountable? Have we been good humans? Did we take care of ourselves and each other? Have we done excellent work and served our clients well? Did we have their backs? Are the majority of our clients happy and renewing their service contracts and planning for new projects in 2023?

All in all, 2022 was a very good year for us, and once again we find that everything comes back to our philosophy of reliability.

If you Google 'reliable website' you get a bunch of hits about how to tell if a website's information is truthful or dependable, or if the hosting service can be trusted. But that’s not what we’re talking about. So, what do we mean by “reliability”? Solspace sure spends a lot of time talking about it. It’s our north star. When we talk about a website being “reliable”, we mean consistent high-quality function without fail, a site that quickly and easily meets the needs of its users with friction-free flow in/through/out of the site. Reliable sites have dependably secure transactions, and consistently generate revenue for the site owner.

A broad range of technical expertise is needed to make a website truly reliable, and ensure it stays that way. But “reliable” has to be true of the developers too, or the websites we build don’t stand a chance. Solspace strives not just to make reliable websites, but to be a reliable team to do business with.

The thing is, much of the work involved in being a truly reliable web developer is personal work, not technical work. We must bring our best selves to every encounter and every project in order to keep our promises and deliver for our clients. Being a part of the Solspace team isn’t just about what we do, it’s about who we are, and this commitment to excellence. So now at the end of the year, we’re asking ourselves these questions:

Are we communicating well?

Sure, we can talk, but we need to be asking the right questions to make sure we can surface information our client may not realize is important and listening carefully to what they say. When we hear our clients clearly, we can deliver what they really need.

Are we working with integrity?

Have we kept our agreements and been accountable? We must be absolutely honest with ourselves first and foremost so we can give our clients a reliable budget and timeline. Our clients depend on us to deliver what we said we would deliver, so we are careful to make promises we can keep. And when we can’t keep a promise or something changes, we do our best to take full responsibility and manage the situation proactively and transparently. Honesty builds trust.

Are we executing the work well and efficiently?

Getting it right the first time (and on time) only happens when we invest deeply in planning, continuously improve our internal processes, communicate early and often, and use the right tools for the job. Great execution results in mutual success and the best value for our clients, every time.

Are we team players?

Do we know our strengths and limitations? We have a lot of in-house expertise but sometimes specialists are needed. We must help our clients identify where special skills are needed and be ready to partner constructively and enthusiastically with expert specialists to ensure everyone’s success. When we stay focused on our common goals, we do great work, the client wins, and strong relationships are built.

Are we being effective guides?

Our clients count on us to guide them through complex problems and into elegant and reliable solutions. They need us to be trustworthy navigators. This means knowing where they’ve been, understanding where they are now, and anticipating where we need to help them get to next.

The Solspace team knows that for any given website, there is exactly one person who ultimately is accountable for its success or failure. They may be called Director of Digital Marketing, VP of Sales, Communications Manager, or something else, but they each have a lot riding on their shoulders. That’s our client. And we’ve got their back.

Want to learn more about web reliability? Our founder, Mitchell Kimbrough wrote a book about how to start fixing your own web reliability problem. You can check it out here.

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