July 1, 2024

Is your digital transformation “off the rails”?

Last week we began looking at your software development practices – specifically, how reliably you produce the software you intend in the time frame that matters to you and if you could make a determination of being “on track” or not. I proposed some questions that you would need to know the answers to in […]

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Last week we began looking at your software development practices - specifically, how reliably you produce the software you intend in the time frame that matters to you and if you could make a determination of being “on track” or not. I proposed some questions that you would need to know the answers to in order to be minimally successful in your software effort. You can get caught up here.

In brief, to be “on track” you always know the current situation of your development effort. You know which of your digital transformation’s strategic objectives are being delivered next and when they will be available to your company. I offered that if you couldn’t answer either of these questions reliably, there may be a better question to ask:

Have you gone off the rails?

To be sure, you will need information to make this determination too - information that if you can’t answer the above questions, you likely won’t have. That’s alright though, because being “off the rails” has other tell-tale signs.

  • Do you miss your dead lines?

  • Are you over budget?

  • When was the last time you released software?

  • Does your development team have high turnover?

  • Is there anyone that can tell you what you are developing and why?

I can’t tell you how many of the above you need to answer in the negative to be “off the rails” but you really should be able to answer all of them satisfactorily - meaning, you like the answer. If you can’t, there is a good chance you are either off the rails or on the way there. Why is that? Well, you don’t know where you are going or where you have been and you are likely over budget and under performing. Not a situation you want to continue.

Off the rails and lucky to still be married…

As promised two weeks ago, early in our marriage, Stacey and I took a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard - a beautiful island off the cost of Massachusetts. We have always been active and we decided to take a bicycle trip around the island - arriving on the first ferry from the mainland in the morning and booked on the last ferry later that day. Stacey left all of the planning to me - that was her first mistake.

I figured that since it was an island (surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean), if we set off in one direction and always kept the ocean on that side of us - we would eventually circumnavigate the island. (I was young and not that bright.) I had a map, what could go wrong? (see below - not this specific map, but one very close in resolution)

Well, if it weren’t for a troop of Boy Scouts arriving on the scene to change one of our tires (we didn’t have a spare...it was my tire...) or a lucky guess at a fork in the road, we would have missed the last ferry and probably had to sleep on the dock that night. Thankfully, that didn’t happen!

Why is this relevant? This same lack of care is what I often observe when I begin to work with new customers. They put their businesses at risk by investing time and money into software without knowing how to manage the build process. They often don’t have a clear picture of their current situation or the future situation they are trying to produce - so they don’t know what they already have that could be useful on their journey and they don’t keep checking their map to make sure they are on track - because they don’t have a map. Lacking these vital tools, failure is all but assured.

Just like most of you wouldn’t try to circumnavigate an island with the “map” on the back of a brochure, don’t head out on your digital transformation journey without the tools and help you need to be successful.

At 8 Penny Labs, we are the help you need to ensure your digital transformation success.

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