Welcome to the series on The Art of the Smart Start. As an IT leader do you have business users come to you with a solution before describing the problem? Hello I am Patrick Miller and today we’ll discuss how to start smart and avoid big technology project traps. Jumping straight into a complex technology solution before fully understanding the core business issue Often results in building more than is required or worse building something no one uses. Everyone’s time and money is wasted. Wouldn’t it be great to build only what is needed? Build it faster than normal? Optimize your IT resources? And deliver business solutions on the first try? Everyone would be happy! It is a big challenge to fully understand what is required before starting. It can take months and requires patience which no one has. Also many requirements are only discovered when the user sees something. Here are a few things that you can do. The first thing to do is start with a business pilot. With real customers, but on a limited scale. The business pilot will provide experience and feedback on the problem or opportunity, the benefits and the impact on processes and organisation. It also provides feedback on what functions and features are needed, nice to have, and not needed at all. The real power of the business pilot is it puts early focus on the business benefit instead of tools. The experience gained helps you make better longer-term technology and investment decisions. Start with a Minimum Viable Product Your technology needs for a MVP are a small subset of the envisioned feature set. Focus on the most critical requirements. Use a lightweight toolset assembled from readily available components. And minimize non-critical integration and automation that introduces complexity ahead of real need. With a MVP everyone will better understand the real problem, challenge, and what is required. Experience is always more valuable than opinion. Thanks to solution marketplaces, you can find and assemble low cost components. With this approach you assemble up to what you need instead of breaking down a complex integrated package to the 30% you actually use. Using components also increases flexibility. You can replace individual components where needed and fine-tune your solution at a more granular level. With experience you may decide to replace the entire setup with a packaged solution. Or refine your component assembly. In either case you win. The cloud is a big accelerator. In our last innovation project we opted for a cloud only approach using Amazon Web Services. Now I’ve been around the block a few times but even I was surprised. It was easy to get started and required no upfront capital investment. For me the biggest advantage is the cloud supports rapid experimentation. The cloud and a MVP approach go hand in hand. Gaining experience working in the cloud is a must to gain traction with your digital transformation efforts. I have seen too often IT architects spend more time worrying about scalability than functionality. For a business pilot scalability will not be your primary concern. If you used cloud infrastructure and solutions like Amazon Web Services, scalability is an inherent feature. You simply scale up on demand and pay for what you use. And if you followed a component assembly approach and encounter scalability or performance issues, you can identify the bottleneck and fix or replace the problematic component. Starting with an MVP and a business pilot are not natural for many organisations. We specialize in providing dedicated high performance teams and business prototyping. These services are based on 20 years of experience working in complex companies with demanding business users. Let’s have an introductory call share experiences and see if we are a good match to work together. Here is what you need to remember. Start with a Business Pilot to gain experience and know what features are really important. Start fast with a low tech MVP Assemble Components for your MVP to increase flexibility Leverage the cloud to accelerate progress, experiment and provide future scalability. If you enjoyed the video like it and share your thoughts in the comments. Subscribe or connect so you won’t miss future posts. Thank you so much for watching. Now Let’s go Make It Happen!