Issues with conventional delivery methods.

Most established businesses I would like to think have realized that they must transition to remain competitive. However, most businesses are yet to figure out the new means of digital delivery (that is Managerial and Development framework) to successfully deliver large Digital transformation initiatives.

Typically, when a large Digital transformation project is kicked-off, the project manager along with technology leaders spend a lot of time drawing up a big upfront project plan and obtain substantially large up-front funding. After this point they source heavily staffed teams to execute the project. The primary focus is to deliver the project within Scope (which is typically agreed at the beginning during the planning phase) and within time. This approach is called the Waterfall approach.

Which should be fine, one would have thought; businesses get all their requirements delivered on-time and within budget !!

But in fact, it is far from it. The final product or service delivered via this approach is generally inferior in quality, has features that are no longer relevant to customers, and extremely difficult to maintain and support once the project team has been dispersed. 

Digital transformation projects typically last a few years and because of the turning point period that we are at, there are constant disruptions from new starts-up and tech giants. Which established businesses are not able to respond to, because their focus remains on fixed scope, time, and cost.

But one might argue that most existing businesses now have Agile and DevOps ways of working. That is correct, these have been around for some time and most development teams have adopted Agile and DevOps ways of working. In spite of that Digital projects are failing to deliver expected results and the delivery is woefully behind that of tech giants. 

I think this is because most businesses have ways of working that have been developed over a number of years. These typically include measurement and completion of activities, such as number of lines of code written, number of production deployment done, number of stories completed from the backlog or even number of defects fixed and percentage of tech debt paid-off.  

Ways of working also include regular meetings, such as planning meetings or status update meetings. 

Do not get me wrong these are required but these seldom emphasize on outcomes or value that matter the most to customers. For example, customers of an online-service do not care how many backlog items were delivered as long as the service is secure and has all the features they want.  

As a result, most businesses end up measuring how agile a team is as opposed to the value it eventually generates. Value, which a potential customer is happy to pay their hard-earned cash in return.

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