You’ve identified a problem or an inefficiency in your organisation. What do you do?
The natural thing we do in that situation is to try and figure out a way to fix the issue.
After you have a solution in mind you realize that it can’t be solved internally… So you reach out to a software expert that you believe can help you. You brief them on the solution and ask for a proposal. At this point a good consultant will ask you deeper questions about the underlying problem, but far too many won’t – they’ll just ask details about the proposed solution.
Naturally, the consultant assumes you know what you want and sends over a proposal for delivering on your solution. It seems OK to you, so you give a go. The solution is delivered a few months later according to specifications, but the problem wasn’t solved.
Would a doctor behave this way? No! A doctor understands that you’re not seeking ”the fix”, you’re actually seeking ”the removal of the problem”. They’ll listen to what you have to say, then dig deeper to find the real underlying issue – and then solve it in the best possible manner.
Too many software projects fail to deliver results because well-intentioned people skip the first and most vital step!
Successful businesses have a clearly defined vision and mission statement. Employees know the vision and the mission – that’s why they’re able to be autonomous and work in the company’s best interests.
A software project needs a vision too! When multiple people are involved you need to make sure they all understand why the project exists in the first place, and what value the project is supposed to bring the business.
It’s vital to start by clearly defining the problem, followed by the vision. The vision is simply the ideal situation that will present itself after removal of the problem.
Problem: Knowledge about our clients is spread out and “owned” by single employees. When an employee is on vacation, sick or on parental leave, the process of getting someone else up to speed is unnecessarily long. And if an employee quits, they tend to bring a lot of “their” clients with them.
Vision: Knowledge is centrally stored and “owned” by the business. Any employee can work with any client since getting up to speed is a very quick, structured and standardized process.
Next is the mission, or goals, that define how the project fits into the vision. You need to make sure that you have clear goals, and that each goal has a measurable target.
Mission: Develop a client portal where documents, reports and communication with the client is stored. Every employee shall have access to the portal, and clients can easily reach and contribute to their “digital folder”.
It makes no sense to bring in outside expertise and not utilize the collected knowledge of the entire working group! But, this is what happens if the vision is skipped and you jump straight into ”neat features”.
Gather software experts and internal business experts in to the same room at an early stage, preferably even at the vision stage! Amazing things happen when you open-mindedly get into a workshop with experts from different industries and discuss a problem.
Work together to come up with the implementation strategy and project roadmap. Otherwise you may very well be throwing money down the well.
Before kicking off the implementation part of a software project, make sure you define:
This information will serve as a lighthouse whenever specific implementation ideas are discussed. If an idea can be argued to better serve the project goals, then there is a business case for it – if not, it’s a distraction and you shouldn’t do it!
I help you successfully plan, architect and execute the right software solution. Let’s talk about your ideas.
Hi, I'm Christoffer Lejdborg! I believe software has tremendous potential to transform your business in amazing ways, but people are too focused on the technology instead of the business case.
I've worked with companies such as BDO, Grant Thornton, Nobina Technology, Run My Security and Whenever.
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