Principles 3 and 4

By Frank Faeth and Joe Busateri  |  Posted 2009-02-24 Print this article Print

MasterCard follows four guiding principles during any application development that involves Web services.

3. Companies should adopt Google’s mentality: Fast is better than perfect.
Since the half-life of business software isn’t very long, it’s better to push a product into the marketplace quickly, rather than wait until a future date when it’s considered absolutely finished. Both developers and business owners must agree on which compromises they are willing to accept regarding an application’s functionality, features and stability, as weighed against achieving greater simplicity and speed to market.

Online users are now accustomed to applications that exist in perpetual development. Popular products like Google’s Gmail are released publicly while still at the beta stage and wear that label for years. Though the initial product might not include all the features and functionality users need out of the gate, this approach enables organizations to test their business case and solicit practical feedback from real customers, which can be used to improve the final product. As a corollary, the organization must be open to “failing fast and failing cheap” and learning from mistakes in order to improve solutions.

Of course, this approach runs counter to the traditional attitude in IT departments, which requires that every line of code be tested until the application is bulletproof. But if your organization decides to wait an extra six or 12 months to perfect a new application before launch, it might miss the market’s window for capturing significant revenue.

4. Be sure to acknowledge that adopting Web services requires time and effort.
Management should not underestimate the significant changes that implementing Web services entails, or the challenges it poses to employees at all levels. Adopting Web services represents a radical change from the way corporations have traditionally developed software systems.

This approach cannot be implemented overnight, especially in companies where existing application development processes have been in place for decades and reflect long-standing employee attitudes and management structures. It takes significant time to alter the way individuals think and work on a daily basis, especially across a vast organization that employs hundreds of application developers.

All team members must be made to understand why their organization is implementing Web services and what benefits that will bring. Adopting a new paradigm for application development is never easy, but, in this case, the final results are well worth the time and effort invested.


Frank Faeth is the group head and technology relationship manager for the MasterCard Global Technology and Operations Group, supporting several MasterCard businesses.

Joe Busateri is a business leader for Emerging and Internet Solutions, the global IT arm of MasterCard Worldwide.


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