What the Tech?

12 Tips for Innovation Success (Part 2)

Congratulations! You have buy-in from senior management and a mandate to move ahead with your innovation project. You’ve even selected a firm to provide project management, engineering, and development expertise. Can you finally relax? Unfortunately, no.

Anyone who has contracted for any repair service knows that an engaged client is the key to a successful outcome. EastBanc Technologies has the expertise required to help you realize your innovation projects, but a  solid, well-oiled partnership is key to reaching the desired results quickly and efficiently. Here are 12 tips for working with EastBanc Technologies to ensure a successful outcome for your projects:

At the Executive Level

  • Share the dynamics that exist among the various technical groups within your organization. We want the best for everyone, but it is helpful for us  to understand if there are any politically sensitive areas.

 

  • Assist with formulating key performance indicators or other success measures. This will help to prioritize work, set realistic expectations for everyone, and provide a firm foundation for underlying steps to be managed in a logical way. 

 

  • Appoint an internal project owner with decision-making authority who has the standing to maintain accountability across impacted groups.

 

  • If it is important to you, it will be important to others. Socialize the mission internally, communicate the importance of the effort, and the expectation of participation.  
  • Be available. Even with an internal project owner, a large project will undoubtedly require executive sponsorship as well, and we need you to be engaged and available throughout the project.

 

  • Clearly communicate EastBanc Technologies’  intended role in the project so that managers are comfortable engaging with us and expectations are level set.

 

At the Managerial Level

 

  • Define the stakeholders early and clearly. This will help clarify who  within your organization are responsible for what - thus helping us determine how and when to interact with them. Suddenly learning the security team should have been consulted months ago doesn’t contribute to efficiency.

 

  • Commit to a project-level shared task management system where tasks are defined and progress can be tracked.

 

  • Be aware of and help mitigate issues surrounding any dependencies which may impact the project timeline.

 

  • Maintain an active presence on the project: stay engaged and understand the project scope, as well as the near- and long-term milestones.

 

  • Streamline and enable any equipment, environment, or other resource or access issues so that momentum is not lost.

 

  • Be able to define documentation, handoff requirements, and training needs so users are confident.

 

Working With EastBanc Technologies

We view our clients as partners – and a large innovation effort is certainly a partnership –  but in order to ensure a successful, productive partnership the roles, expectations and areas of authority must be clear to all parties.

We have a clear track record of success in many industry verticals and are well prepared to provide project management, business analysis/data science, architectural guidance/product evaluation, and development expertise. Collaborations can take a variety of forms, but based on our experience with similar projects, we suggest the following:

First, establish a project leadership team composed of client and EastBanc Technologies representatives to drive overall vision, including architectural framework, policy development, governance, task assignment, and communication. Ideally, the team would report to one senior executive. The leadership team may enlist sub-teams from time to time, such as a training team, but would be the guiding group from start to finish.

At project start, set aside time to have intensive discussions on the current state and generalized goals. Following that, and probably based on recommendations developed after understanding the “as-is” situation, agree on a future state. Finally, develop a high-level phased plan and a more detailed plan with target dates for the next 12 months.

The leadership team will have the authority to assign separate tasks to individual development teams composed of either client-side or EastBanc Technologies personnel. Or a combination of the two. Depending on the scope of the innovation effort, visibility into other organizational efforts may be needed to manage dependencies or conflicts, and adjust target timelines accordingly. Task examples could include architectural recommendations, API strategy recommendations, or actual implementation of specific APIs or microservices.

The roles and individuals on the implementation teams may change throughout the project but we believe that a business analyst should be available to all technical teams. While it is assumed that an innovation project will be conducted as Agile development, we do believe that the most efficient progress is made when sprints are locked at the start, avoiding work stoppages and re-direction that can slow progress and make the sprint results difficult to assess. We want to provide a clear picture of progress within the larger framework.

Innovation projects do not need to be bottomless pits of misdirection, re-work, and false starts.  Innovation may still bring some unexpected surprises along the way, but with a well-visualized goal, thorough planning, clear communication, and continued engagement, you can successfully modernize and remove the legacy issues that are constraining growth and efficiency.

We started this story by mentioning the challenges of turning a large, 100-year-old company into an innovation powerhouse. So how, you may ask, did that project turn out? Did we successfully overhaul their “sprawling and complex” legacy architecture? We did indeed. Our experience helping this client undergo digital transformation is what created this very set of rules!