When life gives you lemons, make lemonade production software.
This is it. It’s Monday morning and we’ve just started the challenge of creating an entirely new product in a week.
Who are we and what are we doing?
We’re a software company that makes bits and pieces of software to help IT people adopt and manage cloud IT products like Office 365. We’ve decided to see if we can make a new product in a week, and we’re going to blog about the experience. This whole idea came out in an conversation we had on Friday (3 days ago), so there has been zero preparation at all.
Everything you see from here is being decided, designed and developed in real-time (and summarized in daily blog posts).
What are we making?
We’ve decided to create a migration tool to help organizations to migrate data from local home drives to OneDrive for Business. It is possible to do this without a dedicated tool, but it’s a real hassle. There are a few tools already out there but they either 1) still need quite a lot of manual effort to set-up the migrations or 2) are really expensive. We want to create a simple and affordable tool that pretty much automates everything for you.
Why? And why now?
The spread of the coronavirus has caused widespread lockdown around the world, with a lot of companies and other organizations trying to set-up remote-working. The cloud is really coming into its own here. Most organizations have already adopted cloud email and SaaS products, which is great for remote work. But a large number of organizations still host most of their file storage on-prem, and trying to handle that remotely via VPNs and terminal services comes with headaches. Getting users’ home drives into the cloud has never been more beneficial than it is right now.
Also things are kind of dark in the world right now, so we figured this might bring a bit of novelty and excitement to our team.
We’re in the middle of a lockdown. IT Teams around the world are likely very busy trying to support their users as they get accustomed to a new world of remote working which comes with its own host of new challenges. Time is not a luxury a lot of people have right now. Our tool needs to make the migration process easy and as automated as possible.
The product doesn’t even have a name yet.
Is a week realistic for a serious business product?
Normally we’d say not. In fact, the most recent product we’ve been working on is now 2-years into development. But whenever we create any technology, we prefer to create it in generic frameworks instead of one-use product specific code. We’ve been taking this approach for years, and have created quite a few frameworks for desktop applications, data migration, identity management, storage mapping, and authentication.
Is that cheating?
Well, this is a genuinely new product. We’ve never done it before. We’ve never even thought about doing it before. But we are borrowing frameworks we’ve built already for different products. So not every line of code that will go into this product is going to be written this week. We’re repurposing anything useful we can get our hands on. We don’t think of this as cheating, it’s just being resourceful! 🙂
And as Carl Sagan once famously said: “If you wish to create an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the Universe.”