Hallway Studio

April 29, 2016

Occasionally I work with clients who fund technology based on project business cases that are evaluated on a periodic or annual basis.

These business cases require your leaders and their teams to spend endless hours creating and editing a deck. In many cases you could have built the thing with the money it took to make the case.

While we’re making decks, our competitors are moving in on our customers and our systems are creaking under a heavy load they were never meant to support. Let’s say you get the money, that’s only going to go so far, then you have to fight for more money to keep your product healthy and growing.

While business cases are being reviewed teams are spinning and their frustration level is rising. Your leaders are stuck between teams wanting direction and leadership demanding details about projects they may not even fund.

I get that big organizations are filled with people asking for funding and they need a mechanism to make sound technology investments but this isn’t it. Instead consider:

Moving from a project to product mindset 

A project has an ending and then it’s over.  A product is a living thing that needs to managed and supported. Successful product companies continually monitor and invest in their products to ensure they are meeting their customer’s needs.

Funding for outcomes and agility 

Instead of funding on a project by project basis empower your leaders to take action by funding at the initiative level and encouraging responsiveness. Each initiative can have a dashboard with KPIs so leadership can monitor progress and get updates without creating a burdensome governance process.

Bringing the customer’s voice into the process

Fortune 100 leaders told me their innovation projects were scored based on business needs and that people were gaming the system. Customers don’t cheat, they give you feedback and insight about what affects them. Getting them involved will ensure that the best ideas win instead of the best business cases.

Making small bets on risky things 

Separately funding experimentation will allow for quick validation and learning. Instead of spending months on a business case, build and test a prototype then share the results, if success criteria is met then you get the funds for the next step.

Image: A lovely view of Snowbird on a blue bird day with some great friends.

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