Kicking your own Ass to Help your Client
As consultants, we are constantly approached by organizations looking to solve their business problems. They vary immensely, some may be related to growth, others concerned about a short-term spike in their technology demands, while some need help transforming from a startup style ad-hoc structure into a middle-sized organization with defined processes and structure and so on.
The challenge is that each company is as individual as you or I, and they all have their own way of doing things. Mentality, spirit, the personalities within the team, these are all different every time, but it is those personalities that got the organization to this point, and some of them will inevitably dislike change.
In the past, we have had a lot of success delivering the added value of both my personal and Digicode’s experience. We have worked on hundreds of projects with the Digicode team, and with all those successes, we have had a few failures.
I have been in situations where I would literally bang my head against the wall trying to get my message through to the CEOs and CIOs of our clients at just how much we could improve things for them, offering to implement an idea and them measure the response to prove it, but often this was simply ignored.
An example of the problem
A good example of that happened when we were working with a Fortune 50 company, I won’t reveal the name, market leaders and considered the hottest company in their field both now and into the future.
They decided to change things, using an internal startup to fuel innovation. They defined the innovation as delivering he product MVP (minimal viable product), which was quite complex by the way, in 3 months and fully launch to market in 4 months. The client’s team was amazing. Their product owner and project initiator completely invested and crazy about his job.
The biggest challenge was that the company had produced incredible results over the years through their legacy systems, so adopting a new way was difficult. Here was a team of 6 guys looking to develop a product that they would have traditionally used several teams of 50+ engineers in overseas offices to accomplish.
We as a team had to deliver a fixed outcome in just 4 months, but we were still working within their legacy processes. Every budget item needed to be estimated and approved upfront, and with 1 to 2-month approval time for budgets, you can begin to see the problem. Despite this, the team managed to overcome these challenges and deliver on time, but I still do not know how much the client actually believed in those demands.
It took multiple flights, many words, many meetings to really get them to see the problems, and just how many aspects of processes needed to change alongside the new system itself. It did work though, the project was a success and now Agile is in place. Everything is different for them and I will tell you more about how things are going in few weeks.