The all-to-common problem
It’s natural to be both excited about the potential of a new technology opportunity and concerned about how often technology projects fail to delivery on the potential. Although started with the best of intentions, significant technology projects often become a tangle of conflicting agendas, feature compromises, missed deadlines and cost overruns. And the large solutions that do make it to release are often cumbersome, incomplete and even unworkable. And the bigger and the more complex the project, the worse it often is.
A common point of failure is the approach taken with technology projects.
Does the following sound familiar?
- You identify a technology need or opportunity
- High-level planning leads to initial approval
- A technology platform and development partner are selected
- Requirements and the project plan are documented
- Software development starts
- You start seeing what you are actually getting
- The gaps become obvious, but changing direction now is costly
- You reluctantly make compromises and start managing expectations
- You release an expensive and disappointing solution
In hindsight you're told that you should have built on the cloud... you should have done a better job of change management... you should have conducted more user consultations.... you should have 'place current IT buzzphrase here'. Although these observations may contain truth, the real problem was likely a lot more foundational. Were you clear on what you were building?
Stepping outside of the software industry, it’s actually remarkable that significant software projects are still run the way they are. Especially business-critical projects with a significant number of users.
Ask yourself, what would you do if your project was a significant investment in a custom building that you were going to move everyone into?
Would your first step be to create a core design including models of the actual building and the most important and compelling features, and then use these designs to communicate and show people your vision, validate your direction, engage stakeholders, get estimates, make directional decisions, and have a clear direction before you start building?
Would you ever start building anything significant without a clear design you could visually communicate? Even if you were building in stages?
Significant buildings are never started without a foundational design, construction companies rarely design the buildings they build (for obvious conflict reasons, they will often sell you what they can make profitably, not what you need), and construction companies are definitely never asked to figure out the core design as they build. So why is this still acceptable for software projects?
A proven and better way
At Hive One, we create innovative visual technology designs that provide solution clarity and allow you to start your project on the right foot. We understand the emotional and logical power that compelling core designs have in setting clear objectives and making sure your vision is both understood and exciting to everyone involved.
Using the same approach as non-software projects, our creative and concise designs and communication materials allow you to build momentum, engage stakeholders, get accurate estimates, pick the right technology and partner, keep everyone working towards a common goal, and release a winning solution. And not only do our designs work for virtually any technology platform, our designs fit naturally into agile, waterfall and hybrid development approaches.
To understand our services, it helps to understand our design process. The following describes our three-phase approach. If necessary this process can be performed iteratively for large projects with multiple stages of development.
As diversity and experience are critical to good design and innovation, we start by constructing a design team selected for their diverse skills, unique solution perspectives and subject matter expertise and throw the net wide across three fundamental areas of exploration:
- The available benefits and opportunities for the people
that will use the system(s)
- The business outcomes expected for the organization
that is building the system(s), and
- The new and existing (legacy) technologies that will
enable the important user and business outcomes above.
Allocating time for these initial sessions allows you to explore innovation opportunities, business requirements, and critical success factors, and ensures that all future work is clearly aligned with organizational, user and technology realities.
In the second phase, the insights and requirements that have been gathered are converted into conceptual designs, documents and presentations that articulate innovative and high value features, describe process flows and explain the solution. These conceptual designs allow the solution to be communicated, for important audiences to be engaged for feedback into the designs, and to gain core solution approval.
This is also a great opportunity to start communicating the conceptual solution and its benefits across stakeholders and audiences to build interest and momentum.
In the third phase, conceptual designs are converted into beautiful prototypes, exciting designs, comprehensive system requirements, and solution road maps. These final designs can be used to communicate your compelling vision, get accurate estimates for development, evaluate development partners and technologies, and build your solution right the first time.
To ensure that your projects are successful, we also provide a wide array of solution leadership, communications and implementation services through the build and release processes. For more on our services, see the 'about us' section of our web site.
At Hive One, we leverage our time-tested approach to ensure that you create innovative, effective high quality software that is a pleasure to use and makes a substantial difference to your organization. With a team portfolio that includes over 65 complex projects in the last 12 years across a complex array of technologies and needs, we are confident that we will help you achieve more... by design.
Find out how our design services can maximize your success.