Technology is playing a much bigger role in customers’ lives, and is changing the way senior management view the IT department. Historically the CIO’s role was to keep the lights running; now, however, IT is considered to be not only the key to unlocking new revenue, but also a way of keeping up with the competition. This shift is almost causing management to expect IT to build the perfect solution, which will solve every problem rather than address the ones which offer the most value.
Late to market
Organisations that mount technology projects hope to achieve some significant results never before achieved. Management look to successful technology companies as the benchmark, but only focus on the end product or services rather than the minimal viable steps they took to get there. Very quickly, assumptions are made and the sheer size these projects grow to results in severe delays. This causes significant brand impacts, and in some cases results in the loss of customers and overall market share.
The biggest barrier to delivering solutions is the organisation itself: specifically, the tangle of structure and silos, hierarchy, vested interests, internal politics and established ways of working. Attempting to design and deliver the complete solution usually fails due to competing priorities and constrained boundaries. The vast task of bringing the moving parts together to focus and work together to deliver the same thing at the same time results in delays and compromises.
Don’t know the customer
Building anything new is a risky business. There are no guarantees that once the solution is developed, that anyone will actually want to use it. Larger solutions increase this risk due to the in-frequency of releases. By reducing the time to build and release, organisations create an opportunity to build customer relationships and create frequent value. This helps to reduce the cost of failure and eventually reduces risk due to the reduction in quantity and complexity of each delivery.
Locked in product(ion) thinking
On average 2% of large IT projects, with a significant budget are successfully delivered, in comparison to the 71% success rate of smaller projects. Focusing on the minimum viable enables IT deliveries to be broken up into smaller pieces. Thinking small keeps leaders from chasing every problem with a technology solution. They start to recognise that even technology has limits, and to get the best from it requires customer feedback as early as possible. This creates a steady stream of value through smaller more frequent releases rather than bundling them into big solutions.
Focus on the minimal viable to make the biggest impact
Not just first but relevant
In today’s market it is not just about being first, it is about being relevant. With so much new technology, it’s crucial that companies understand what really works. Focusing on the minimal viable option brings the fight back to the competition, but also gives your users a platform to tell you what they think should be improved. This early feedback saves you money, and delivers real business and customer value, because you only build the technology the customer truly needs.