Originally, project management focused on the construction of physical spaces: bridges, buildings, anything concrete. Teams absolutely had to identify every single detail of the scope up front, because one mistake could bring the whole project tumbling down - literally.
Imagine spending months or years building a bridge, only to take a wrecking ball to it when you realize one component was miscalculated. When there were changes to the scope of a project, it was a horribly painful and costly mistake for everyone.
With the digital boom, teams naturally applied the same project management mindset to software development, aiming to identify every detail and prepare for every step of the process.
Yet, when you think about it, this makes no sense.
One of the greatest benefits of software development is its flexibility, the ability to continually make changes. Nothing is concrete. You can, and should, seek feedback. You can, and should, update often. In software, it’s almost impossible to predict where a project will take us. So, we let the product lead us, learning and growing from each iteration.
One of the biggest obstacles Augusto Digital helps clients overcome is this idea of scope. When a company chooses to invest a significant amount of money and time into a product, it’s natural to want to prepare, predict, and chart the course of the software. We can spend months writing requirement documents, but when we actually start writing the code, we often discover unexpected features we want to add - all based on user experience and feedback.
In fact, I’ve never worked on a project that hasn’t ended up changing in scope. While we’re generally on the right track, it’s important for everyone involved to be open to these inevitable changes.
So, if scope is variable, what can you control?
Break your project into sprints and cycles to prepare for scope changes. As a team, identify three specific features or products that bring the most value to the users and may be implemented quickest. Set short deadlines to start receiving feedback as soon as possible. The quicker to launch, the quicker to feedback and the better the product or feature will be.
Invest in a strong team. In order to wisely allocate your funds, determine which skill sets you need on your team during each sprint. Then, don’t be afraid to supplement your team. For example, if you enter a sprint that is more heavily focused on UX than your previous ones, you might want to add a front-end developer to accomplish this next set of goals. We’ll coach you to manage the team who will produce your desired outcome.
Set realistic expectations. When developing a custom system, it’s better to focus on managing the outcome that your team can accomplish within a fixed amount of time and budget rather than focusing solely on the outcome you envision.
Why trust builds longer runways
When we first began working with our clients at Orbital RX, they had a strong vision, but needed a more tangible product to pitch to their investors. Recognizing the need for a better and faster way to manage drug shortages, the Orbital RX team sought our help to develop a comprehensive software solution that would empower pharmacy leaders to automate their medication shortage workflows.
We coached the OrbitalRX team to share with us their vision for the product, but asked them to remain open to changes to the scope, timeframe, and even the team along the way. Since the modern health care field is constantly changing, OrbitalRX needed a system that could not only deliver value from the onset, but also undergo continuous iterations and improvements over its lifetime.
After we developed their first MVP (minimum viable product), we tested with their customers and other stakeholders. Learning from that research, we uncovered other ideas that users really wanted and were able to adjust our path accordingly - positioning their team for ongoing growth.
OrbitalRX increased their budget incrementally as they continued to see the value and justify their investment. Over six months we helped to accelerate validation from investors and lay a foundation for their technical team.
We love when companies choose to start small. It gives us the opportunity to create your MVP and then begin to experiment.
We live by the motto:
Growth = Value x Trust.
Many of our greatest relationships with clients started small. It’s our mission to consistently deliver value, and we believe the more you start to see value in your product, the more you’ll trust us to help grow your business.