Organizations today irrespective of their size are on their journey towards Digital. In my last blog, I mentioned about three distinct phases one needs to see through before reaching their destination of being Digital. These phases are nothing but my interpretation of the situation which all of my projects went through and what was the differentiator in each of them. These phases may not account for the best practices one should follow, but surely can support as an indicator and a checklist one should keep handy throughout their journey.
Phase 1: Stacking the Ship & choosing the right map
Like any captain, who readies his men & vessel before leaving for their next destination, follows a ready reckoner & comes up with a plan based out of experiences and a strong gut feeling. Similarly, one should be cautious and calculative about the choices one is making on their journey towards Digital. Here are a few key points one should consider while stacking the ship or choosing the right team and tool sets-
- Diverse and Agile Teams
- Robust & Nimble Technology Stack
- Modular Architecture
- Stakeholder Participation
With right-minded people and tools on your side, the next key thing digital teams should possess is a correct approach, which revolves around following key points on this, 1. Taking small steps 2. Opening Culture with Open Innovation 3. Service Design Thinking 4. Agile & DevOps. These points are the essentials for starting your journey.
The next phase in your journey is where the most critical and fun moments reside. The actions and decisions taken during this phase will be critical in deciding the fate of your journey.
Phase 2: Facing the storm & steadying your ship
Starting the journey with all-important things on your side, you are poised to see this through. Just when you think everything is going smooth, some unique challenges will come calling at you. People who have managed projects before, digital or not, know about some typical people management and administrative challenges encountered during a project’s lifespan. The difference digital brings is the speed and techniques using which one should respond to these challenges. I have summed up some of the common challenges digital teams will be facing- 1. Frustration of changing goals 2. Commentary from the sideliners. 3. Fear of failure 4. Team exhaustion & risk of damage. These are the few challenges digital teams will be facing and though all the challenges do look different but inherently, they are all well connected. Collective force of all these challenges is strong enough to break the boat & bring the whole journey to a standstill. The fear of failure coupled with deadline pressure makes them fall to old practices. Boon of old world turns out to be a bane for digital. Things may look in control for a while but inside it is rotting the whole process & environment in turn. Going through all this turmoil is nothing short of facing a storm. Traversing a storm not only needs team efforts but also requires a well thought strategy to back it up. Every digital team needs to stick to these core principles of Digital Delivery to doze off storms on their way – 1. Core driven development 2. Honest Demos backed by key metrics 3. Requirement Management Framework 4. Risk Assessment & Contingency plans. 5. Appraised team to give appraised performance.
Phase 3: Finding Nirvana
Once you are through with these storms, the water will be much calmer & air breezing at the right speed will make sure you reach your destination. This is the time by when you will be doing your first delivery of digital project. That is when the next set of questions pops up- Have I reached the destination? If not, what’s in store for me next? By when I will reach my goal? The answers to these questions rest within your first delivery. There is a lot to learn from your first successful delivery, and with successful I mean a usable project with minimal defects, not one with zero defects. Your first delivery will give you ample amount of opportunity to validate your efforts, idea and approach. This is the time when one should do following things- 1. Hear more from end users. 2. Understand market dynamics 3. Mine business analytics.
Once you have done all of the above start analyzing everything and putting things together. First, analyze each point in isolation and later in co-relation. Now, based on the inferences, you will understand that the first delivery was just the starting point of your ever-evolving journey towards digital. With every delivery you will be inching closer to being digital.
Delivering a digital project is not a one off activity, it is an activity in which your destination is journey and journey is destination.