Epic's 13 principles
1. Do not go public.
2. Do not be acquired.
3. Expectations = reality.
4. Keep commitments.
5. Be frugal.
6. Have standards. Don't do deals.
7. Create innovative and helpful products.
8. Have fun with customers.
9. Follow processes. Find root causes. Fix processes.
10. Don't take on debt for operations, no matter how good the deal.
11. Focus on competency. Do not tolerate mediocrity.
12. Teach philosophy and culture.
13. If you disagree, dissent. Once decided, support.
This week brings us to Principle 6: Have standards. Don't do deals.
Whenever I heard Judy explain it at staff meetings, she related it to the price of the software. I.e., Kaiser pays the same price per license as Maine Health. Epic isn't going to give one customer a huge discount just to get its business. Like the first two principles, I never saw how it related to me, personally, as someone not in a position to make deals. As I'm thinking about it now though, with my embittered snarkiness in full bloom, Judy and the sales team are the only folks at the company who are even in a position where they could follow this principle, in Sales or otherwise.
If Epic employees had standards, they wouldn't allow themselves to work 60-80 hour weeks. If Epic employees had standards, they'd give their bosses realistic expectations of the work that they can realistically handle in a given week. If Epic employees had standards, they would politely but firmly inform their TLs that their customers are used to certain standards of support, standards that will no longer be achievable if the employee's customer load increases.
I've often said that one of the reasons Judy primarily hires recent college grads is because they don't yet know what is standard for work expectations. If they don't know any better, they're easier to exploit.
Realistically though, the Epic rank-and-file just aren't in a position where they can obey Principle 6. If they tried, they'd be out of a job faster than you can say "Fix processes." In fact, Epic actively encourages its employees to lower its standards. I remember a conversation I had with my TL, after he listened in on a weekly issues call with my customer.
TL: You said "I don't know" a lot.You get the picture, and you've probably lived through it. It is possible in certain areas of life to have standards that are too high. However, in a situation with as much potential for harm as clinical software, there shouldn't be any compromises when it comes to accuracy. You shouldn't have to make a deal between response time and response accuracy.
Me: That's because I didn't know the answer off the top of my head. I want to research it before giving them potentially incorrect information.
TL: Just tell them something, and then correct it later.
Me: ...Ok... (raised eyebrow)
After the next issues call the TL listened to:
TL: You told them some things that aren't right.
Me: But you said--!
The "don't do deals" aspect is also interesting, in that it's definitely one sided. Epic won't cut a deal for anyone, but boy-oh-boy will it wring every last advantage out of anything that comes its way. I'm thinking primarily of how it burns through its employees, but I'm sure Judy is reaping lots of rewards from her seat on Barack's EHR panel.
In any rate, the upper echelons at Epic are in a position to obey the principle as it relates to customer expectations. But internally, standards are always movable.