Make “Time To Value” a priority
This article is part of the series “Set your project up for success.”
Customers often name "fast modeling" as a distinguishing factor of AIMMS compared to other modeling languages. As we know, time is money, and the longer a project takes to deliver, the higher the cost. Your customers will be happier when they can see things moving along quickly.
Make it official with KPI’s
Adding Time to Value as a project KPI means evaluating items based on what has the highest value and can be delivered in the shortest time. It tells you what to prioritize as the project goes along.
That means that your first priorities should be on a Minimum Viable Product, focusing on those high-value features and functions that serve the primary user needs. Once that is delivered (or presented), you can tackle other user needs in following versions.
Your first priorities should be on a Minimum Viable Product, focusing on those high-value features and functions.
Define the plan as a process
I am not going to argue here for the "agile" development of software applications, I assume that everyone understands the benefits of this approach and uses it.
Your planning should not be too detailed from the beginning – focus on a rough end goal, and some intermediate goals along the way. Planning every step in detail at the beginning of a project most often proves to be a waste of time, when unexpected changes come up along the way. Rather, focus on the details of the "next small step" to another valuable delivery.
The process could look something like this:
Define User Stories
Decide on the most important ones
Decide on the scope of the MVP
Introduce a back log overview to keep track of all out of scope topics that will come up.
Develop a MVP
Make sure the MVP is accepted and used by the business and/or the end users.
Define next project milestone based on remaining user stories and back log items.
Celebrate small victories
Make a point to celebrate every new delivery as a new achievement. And ensure all stakeholders are aware of the added value for the business that comes with every delivery.
Make a point to celebrate every new delivery as a new achievement.
Positive and negative proof
We have seen both positive and negative proof of Time to Value in action.
When this is neglected, and value is slow to appear, stakeholders talk in the big picture but lose touch with what is happening now. The scope of the project gets too big and then stakeholders are disappointed when the product cannot live up to the expectations.
When value is delivered quickly with AIMMS, the likelihood of acceptance and long-term satisfaction are much higher. Each item that delivers immediate value gives a huge boost to morale for all stakeholders, and keeps everyone in touch with reality, so to speak.
Standing behind your approach
Maybe the most important part is to convince your customer about this approach. Explaining to a customer that you won't deliver everything at once can be a challenge.
Explain that putting the MVP into use, and then adding new functionality in stages, is necessary for the acceptance of the application. It may be difficult to explain, especially at the beginning of the project, but if you have a firm understanding of the reasons behind it, and are clear that this is important, it will increase your chances for success by far.