In software, building the thing right is easy… identifying the right thing to build isn’t!
“SCRUM your way to the best possible solution”, by Charles Bronzwaer.
In the past eight years, we have carried out many software development projects in a lot of different industries at Bizzomate. These projects include insurance, production, education, professional and legal services. Let’s see what makes some projects thrive and others not so much.
Ask yourself: What do I do?
Imagine you are a business owner who is always looking for new ways to create extra value for your company. Your project is a success when you realise that the earned value is higher than your investment. However, be aware that business values are not just about money. Business values include being more efficient, delivering a better customer experience, and having greater employee happiness. An excellent way to get a better understanding of your business value is to organise facilitated workshops with your teams.
When you have a clear picture of the business value, you will realise that it is time to set the success criteria for your project. These criteria should be as concrete as possible (‘NPS score should be 10% higher,’ ‘Profit margins should increase by 5%,’ and ‘Absenteeism should fall below 3%’). To check whether your project has generated the desired business value, you must measure your criteria before, during, and after the project.
A simple program isn’t easy to make
So, now that you have a clear vision of your success criteria, you have linked them to your business value and business strategy, and you have enough measurements to check the success criteria during and after the project, it’s time to get this show on the road!
However, beware, getting started isn’t as easy as it sounds. Software development is a complex process. The main reason is that making software means creating something entirely new. Products produced in series are not complicated to make because the steps for making each individual product are the same. For example, the assembly of a car is a simple process, even though the vehicle itself is not a simple product. A software program can be a straightforward product, but the road to that product is rarely without complications. However, every day, I see that people forget this. Everybody assumes that, if the product is simple, the process shouldn’t be too complex either. This often results in inferior products that frustrate users and don’t deliver the desired business value.
Finding the right balance with SCRUM
This is why we use the SCRUM framework for all our software development projects. It offers the right balance between very fixed rules and significant flexibility so that the team can focus on delivering business value as soon as possible. Making adjustments during the project is easy because of the daily standups and sprints in which changes can be discussed, and the product owner and the development team review the work delivered at the end of each sprint. These reviews allow them to continually improve the required application until it resolves the underlying problem instead of the initial question.
We are software “architects, analysts, techies and designers” and throughout the years we’ve created a pragmatic and creative approach to identify the right problems to solve before you start with the development of the bits and bytes. No long research studies, no thick reports but 4 clear steps to success.
Are you solving the right problems, or are you making software that nobody asked for??
Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Charles Bronzwaer – Factory Leader @ Bizzomate