You’ve just walked out of an operations review, only to hear that another project has not delivered as expected. The team lead had been called on the carpet, having to explain what has gone wrong with deployment and what actions are going to be taken. The team lead has just completed a lackluster review of the project’s current status and most of the meeting was a critique of actions taken and the directive to fix the current problems and then report back to leadership. You have now witnessed so many of these meetings, that aside from the specific crisis at hand, you have the gut feeling that ‘there has to be a better way!'
It is likely that your team and organization has become overwhelmed and too focused on remediating current issues. The same issues continue, happen repeatedly and the result is that there is little or no change to the conditions that created the problems in the first place.
There is a better way and a solution. I’m calling it “Precision Transformation.' My definition of Precision Transformation includes the specific activities, metrics, measures and change management required to deliver results with precision.
My premise is that although IT organizations are well known for gearing up a project plan and project team to deliver a solution, there is limited focus on delivering with precision. Given the complexity of delivering results, the focus needs to change.
Driving precision transformation will change IT delivery, whether it is in the execution of the software delivery life cycle or in IT operations. To make this happen consider the following:
Defining Need: Are your customers able to accurately describe what is needed? This goes beyond the classic use of business analysts to refine customer requirements. If the customer cannot define the need with some level of detail, then why are we doing the project to begin with? Three simple questions to ask when defining the need include:
1) Is the need defined in detail?
2) What is the expected impact to the end customer?
3) What will this new functionality do to current state operations?
Quick Hint: If you cannot define the need with some detail, then why are you doing the project ?
Defining Delivery: Ask your customer to close their eyes and define the perfect delivery.. aka ‘nirvana.' Three simple questions to ask include:
1) What does best in class delivery of the solution look like?
2) What does delivery look like for operations and IT?
3) What would be their worst nightmare …things that could go wrong?
Quick Hint: If the customer cannot answer all of these questions, then go back to the drawing board!
Defining Operations: Pull out your current documented operational and IT models, all the metrics, all the reporting and examples of the operational reports that are created today. Or if you don’t want to collect this data, draw it on the white board. Ask you team these three simple questions:
1) What are we going to eliminate / improve / change with the rollout of the new initiative?
2) What is the impact to our architecture and infrastructure when rollout happens?
3) What steps were taken throughout each phase of the SDLC to make sure operations are going to be robust?
Quick Hint: Ask these questions at the start of project and ask them at the end!