Strategy and Planning

1 June

Strategy

Before beginning any project, we need to get an idea of what it is that you wish to accomplish.  This involves several important factors.

Your vision

Before anything, we work with you to make sure that we have a strong understanding of your company’s vision.  The vision is a broad goal for your business; how you picture things to be when this project has been completed.  This should be defined in broad terms.

Problem Definition

We start helping you outline a problem definition.   What is the current situation?  What needs to change?    This could be anything such as understanding a competitive disadvantage you may have or maybe you have trouble with some of your company’s internal processes.   For example, perhaps you need to make sure that your workforce can function working in remote environments.   

Current events have made this flexibility a necessity.  Maybe you have been requiring people to work far too centrally; this may exist because of organizational policies or maybe it has something to do with the software suites with which you work.  

We will work with you to define exactly what the problems are, and then break them down into their details.   For instance, people can’t work remotely because they don’t have access to the software for which you only have licenses for internal machines which are located in your offices. 

Another situation could be a case where you have much of your data stored on a series of spreadsheets stored across internal company networks.  Multiple users have trouble working on these at one time, so people when working remote make their own copies, resulting in inconsistent and inaccurate data.

Perhaps you have a number of tasks which require repetitive actions which do not add to the value of the final outcome;  your staff are bogged down in recordkeeping activities which are time-consuming but not revenue generating, or they slow down many employees and keep them away from more value-added activities.

There are many other circumstances.  We can work with you to help you identify the root causes for why you are having these business problems. 

Future Ideal

Once we have an idea about your current situation, we can then compare these against a future ideal.  

From these problems, we will work to identify specific solutions to these problems.  They could be a new centralized work platform.    Perhaps it involves migrating a large number of your business processes to the cloud, and working with existing SaaS products, or creating a new piece of software that works specifically for the needs of your company.

You may have identified an internal process where people are working in a disjointed fashion, and information needs to be centralized.  We may come up with a solution such as a custom portal for internal users that can be accessed remotely. 

Similarly, if you have identified that you need a place for your clients to find information they need, and perform various actions, we may identify that a custom client portal may solve this problem. 

In all situations, we take your vision, break it down into concepts, formulate it into a strategy and determine if new software is the solution for your goals.

Planning

Once we have these ideas in place, we begin an extended planning phase.   

Planning is absolutely essential to the success of almost any project.  In fact, lack of planning is the number one reason why projects fail.  We make sure that we have a clear view, with the vision being your long-term goals, and a plan of action for getting to each step along the way, with clearly defined milestones.   Each of these milestones are designed around your specific goals.

In general, we like to encourage meetings directly face to face.  While ideally accomplished in-person in your office, we can accommodate for all sorts of circumstances and work with direct online conferencing.    If at all possible, we like to be able to shadow your daily routines to identify patterns and how your staff like to work.   We communicate using our state-of-the art business efficiency tools, and we can work together to provide true communication and deep value throughout the entire process.  

We will work with you to define a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and work on ideal methods for implementing these tools.    This MVP will include the key functionality of the product, its design, how we will maintain reliability, and make sure that it is easily usable by your company or your customers. 

Project Methodology

During the early part of the planning phase we identify a project methodology that will work best for your company.

Predictive

For many companies, our unique predictive approach is ideal for those who wish to establish clearly defined guidelines and a predictable timeline and finite cost for a project.   We will work with you to create a detailed, logically embedded prototype of a complex project, often within only a few weeks.   We can create a simple demo and share it with all stakeholders and make quick changes.   We can often develop the structure of the final product without writing a line of code, so that everyone knows what to expect.  This keeps cost in-line and we have ways of working efficiently to make sure that you receive an MVP that is functional and workable for your company within finite guidelines.

Dynamic

For either larger projects, or for those where timing of quick and early releases is important, we can use a dynamic or Agile approach to development.    The planning stages for dynamic development will typically include 4-6 people, including:

  1. A business analyst who does interviews, 
  2. UI/UX specialist who creates prototypes,
  3.  A systems architect, 
  4. the developers who will help identify feasible solution solutions,
  5. and a product owner/or PM who oversees the process.

Using the Agile approach, we create “Epics” or long-term goals for the project.  These are then broken down into smaller “scrums” and “sprints,” which will accomplish smaller tasks within tight, and well-defined timelines, each one with the goal of creating small viable results which can be pushed into production as quickly as possible.    Planning with the Agile process is ongoing throughout all stages of the project, with daily meetings discussing progress and identifying any blocks to progression to make sure that the entire project moves smoothly with small goals being regularly met. 

Whichever project methodology you use, we will work to ensure that you are clearly informed about each stage of the project, so that you are always aware of what is happening, and knowing that your ideal new work solutions are being accomplished.

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