It happens in any high stake engagement where investment , endorsement and ultimate payouts are in the millions. In a competitive ecosystem or where access to talent is a non-issue, who wins boils down to the choice of tools one deploys to produce value. Tools support processes and policies that ensure a consistent and replicable end product. Just like the F1 chaps have tires for all manner of road and weather conditions, every software technology outfit must have the tools they use to ensure consistent world-class output regardless of the project served or flavor of client.
In the tech vertical , the mix of tools varies with specialization and I will focus on the toolset for the software development inclined enterprise. This choice of tools is biased based on my own experiences developing software platforms for a varied mix of clientele.
Deal or Sales pipelining tools I consider a default for any business and will therefore not delve there.
For both enterprise and SME focused software development , it is imperative one uses a flexible project management tool and process. A good system coupled with a stellar project manager will reduce the grief associated with scope creep, overshot budgets and unmet expectations.
Collaboration and Code Management
Good engineers and system architects cost, and with high demand in the market you will need to complement in-house resources often with independent consultants who may not even be resident in your country of operation, code collaboration tools are important in managing this interaction especially in regards to versioning. I have had the experience of being set back two months on project when a lead developers laptop was stolen before they had done a routine backup.
A good percentage of developers come with a healthy serving of ego and self belief that they apply to their work and this has its pros and cons. The good is that every task is “programmable”, the bad is that critique is often frowned upon or taken personally. If quality assurance means anything to your business, then the use of code review tools and processes is necessary, not to mention the development of a culture where the feeling is more of “I got your back ” and not “Ha! I caught your bug”
Companies like Facebook are always at work, tweaking this user experience or introducing a new feature to a subset of users. For many SAAS companies serving a large base of customers, this is often the norm, with the software development cycle on overdrive. How you get to introduce new features or patch up loopholes must be well managed.
There are many tools both open source and proprietary that can you could use as standalone deployments or mash up for a custom solution. Take them for a spin and pick which fits best, it could be the one thing that gives you the extra edge.