The tip of the (good) iceberg


Recently, a “perfect storm” situation occurred when we realised that there was a convergence of a new business need with an old technical need.

We have a technical issue that we wanted to deal with for a long time and yet never got to it because of high-priority tasks requests for the business. Our issue has to do with overhauling data structures and internal SOA processes to be more flexible and to be able to support business requirements in the future. The tasks and migrations were analyzed and estimated at “medium” and “hard” complexity levels and felt like an elephant in every meeting concerning the project, which is a central one in our business.

The “perfect storm” appeared when the business unit requested a feature that was solved by our internal analysis as part of the overhaul, but the key factor was that they asked for an initial implementation where only 20% of the customers be effected.
We were confronted with a situation where both parties had the same goal – we had technical justifications to make what we saw as needed changes and the business unit had a market-driven justification for asking for changes. This is a perfect situation to be in as both units are aligned and there is no conflict of interest.

The beauty of the situation is in the “20%”. By requesting that only a selected 20% of the customer base be affected, we could now picture the technical scope of the project with a different mindset – one of depth of development for a limited breath of the customers. By this I mean that we are able to plan for the “most value” for the business unit – producing working software to solve for the 20%, while back-filling the rest of our technical debt towards this project by the current processes till more is developed for the next segment of customers. True, there will be “production support” till we achieve 100% customer base, yet solving for 20% economically justifies that cost and effort.

The result is that the business unit will see only the tip of the iceberg of this project with immediate value, while we work on the invisible part that will cover the subsequent market segments that will be addressed sequentially over time.

The convergence of the business goals with ours makes it possible for us to succeed with this project and introduce it to the market in small segments. If only all business and technical requirements were so well aligned!

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