Solita Project Lead Manifesto part 4: We prioritise customer value over short-term profits

Veli-Matti Laaksonen Project Lead, Solita

Published 30 Oct 2023

Reading time 6 min

In our current fast-paced working environment where we make daily decisions while closely monitoring budget, too often organisations are making decisions on digital solutions that suit their agenda at the current moment. These decisions might provide savings and profits in the short term. What about thinking about the value created in five years’ time? Or even in a few years? Maybe it’s time to focus on decisions which create a greater impact in the long term. If we’re not thinking about customer value in the long run, then what are we doing?

Quite often one might come across a story of a company or an organisation which decided to embark on a transformational journey but didn’t really have an understanding of the end user’s needs and/or wishes. Organisations end up implementing projects linked to strategy without being able to answer the basic question:” What value are we getting? What are we trying to achieve?”

I feel truly blessed to work in a company where we are encouraged to challenge our customers to think for the long run. Even though it is in our company DNA to help our customers make decisions that benefit them and naturally bring profits to the table, we don’t do things “just because.”

In this blog post, I try to gather my personal thoughts on this phenomenon and perhaps share an idea or two to consider in your organisation.

Rise and fall of pursuit of short-term profits

History is full of examples where the short-sightedness of organisations has led them to a point of no return. Sometimes these moments have given the organisations the choice of pivoting to a different direction or staying in the same lane. In the current fast-paced IT environment, one organisation’s poorly based decisions can easily lead to another organisation gaining its position.

Remember the images of overheating and exploding Samsung notepads? I do, and this was over 7 years ago. In this case, the Korean IT company tried to hurry the launch of its product due to a tight timeline given by the management in order to be able to compete with its biggest rival and its product launch (NBC, 2017). Thorough testing phases and user involvement were more or less disregarded in the project. This all led to product recalls and a significant blow to their reputation.

Just throw in a couple of examples outside of the IT project world, we’ve had cases like Enron – an American energy company which notoriously used accounting loopholes and financial manipulation in order to gain growth and profits from its investors (Benston & Hartgraves, 2002). Another example would be Kodak which used to be a true powerhouse in the photography industry. They had early knowledge of digital imaging but the company management decided to invest in film production and this eventually led to a market share decline and bankruptcy in 2012 (Lucas Jr, H. C., & Goh, J. M., 2009). Who knew digital transformation was the real deal?

In each of these cases, the companies’ short-term focus on immediate financial gains came at the expense of long-term sustainability and value creation. This ultimately resulted in severe consequences, including bankruptcies, financial crises, legal penalties, and damaged reputations. These examples serve as cautionary tales about the importance of balancing short-term gains with long-term strategic planning and ethical considerations.

Building trust is the key

I try to remind myself every now and then “Why do we say no to certain proposals when we know this all seems rushed?” I want to think that this will show that we care. Even though these discussions are never easy and might take a couple of iterations. When we truly deep-dive into customer’s problems and goals, we may build long-lasting relations.

Naturally, this needs to happen in an environment of mutual respect. Once a relationship based on trust is built, it is much easier to start questioning whether a feature or an action creates long-term value or not. In the right environment asking these questions does not add to confrontation. This kind of project culture does not just happen. This can only happen when in the initial phases of the project, these principles are said out loud and understood by both parties.

Working together and involving the needed stakeholders nurtures stronger relationships. When the project lead is invested in their success, it gives a foundation for open discussion and true relations which goes to both ways.

Things to consider when aiming for long-term value

There are certain questions that should be asked in projects when there is a moment when we need to choose a direction. One important thing is to include design thinking in iterative processes. We may want to explore our options and then narrow it down to find the right direction. There are some questions that might guide you in these moments:


  • Is the solution desirable? How do our users see the product? Is it lovable?
  •  Is it viable? Naturally, we don’t want to throw financial thinking in the trash bin. When making decisions, it is crucial to analyse the viability money-wise. Do we get a return for this investment in the long run?
  • What about the feasibility? Do we have the tools and resources to build such a solution?


  • Is it sustainable? Does the solution stand the test of time? This is important to consider in the design phase.
  • What about adaptability? Is it wise to implement it right now?

© Putte Huima & Lauri Kieksi

PL image

The iterative way of working allows us to refine different options for potential solutions. As mentioned before, it might be good to broaden your options before narrowing them down as part of the planning. Working on these different alternatives by defining wanted results and KPIs and asking the questions mentioned above, we might be able to decide whether we should pursue an option or not.

In this little scribble of mine, I wanted to advocate building trust with open communication while setting up a project culture based on mutual respect. Certain examples from real life might help you to remember that there might be a downfall in blindly pursuing short-term profits.

The writer works as a project lead for Solita Finland and has an earlier background in project management office work and strategic planning. 

“In my role, I come across these situations very often and find it very important to remind myself about the importance of long-term thinking. In certain projects that rely heavily on waterfall methodology many important decisions are set beforehand, and these are the situations that I find most challenging. Despite the chosen methodology and project phase, it is necessary to react and agree on needed changes to project requirements in situations where we have a better understanding of the wanted solution.”


  • Lucas Jr, H. C., & Goh, J. M. (2009). Disruptive technology: How Kodak missed the digital photography revolution. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 18(1).
  • Benston, G. J., & Hartgraves, A. L. (2002). Enron: what happened and what we can learn from it. Journal of accounting and public policy, 21(2), 105-127.
  • Samsung Finally Explains the Galaxy Note 7 Exploding Battery Mess (

Curious to hear more about how our manifesto manifests itself in actual project work? Stay tuned because there is one more post in this series to come.

Want to join Solita? See our open positionsOr interested in Project Lead Community Tampere event, there is one coming up in November. Join here.

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