Part II of my 2 part series on getting your huge software product across the finish line. Here’s 6 more items to add to your strategy bag:
We are starting at #6 here because this is really part II of a 2 part blog series on the top 10 things really holding you back from successfully taking your product to market.
Click here for part 1!
How well are you getting the message across?
Write out the entire approach using a pseudo sequence diagram or [insert sequence diagramming tool] or simple bubble dependency diagram. This is great for brainstorming and getting all the pieces out on the table and then assembling an approach and priority for each (see prioritize above). [add pic here]
Avoid tooling at this step
Don’t bust out the visio or hire a professional drafter to do a napkin drawing. Because that’s what this should be at this stage. I typically use whiteboard or paper and pencil and take photos of the work as we go. If it is meant to be it will be used regularly enough to warrant formalizing it.
Keep your messaging as consistent as possible
Ever work for that guy/gal who is constantly changing their mind and the project scope along with it? How about that stakeholder who is clueless about the SDLC so they act they are on a crazy shopping spree filling up the basket with one ask after another? Well, if you don’t develop your approach early and stick with it you sound like that to your team.
Post the timeline
Posting your timeline is critical so that everyone on your team is aware on a daily basis of what your expectation is for delivery. Believe me when you’re doing development work as surprising as it may sound it is very easy to forget key dates and Milestones. Here you can use tooling – because you’re going to blow it up, print it out and hang it where it is visible to all. I’ll write an article on using visio to do this. You can automate it with excel to speed things up.
If you’re using collaboration software like Slack, you should pin it or post it. [add a pic? Or just post later]. TFS has a widget you can use to display custom content to your team. The bottom line is you want to put it somewhere where your team members go on a daily basis so that the messaging gets ingrained in their daily process.
Buy in from your team/ Changing behavior is the hardest thing
Everybody has to want this. More importantly they have to understand what you are trying to do (see conveyance/message). It is very frustrating for a RAD manager to see team members continuously reverting to old habits but it is going to happen. Select team members carefully. Use peer group sessions to help enforce your approach. If somebody is constantly going off on tangents they will be better doing general R&D in the background to head off any gotchas that may surface.
Stay on message and don’t allow for scope creep. This is easier said than done and remains one of the toughest challenges in managing a product roll out. However, it is critical if you want to avoid the moving target syndrome
Refine your meeting load
One of the questions i often ask my clients is, “when was the last time you held or attended a meeting that had a well-defined goal and a fully scoped agenda?” Their answer is usually that they can’t remember, or it was an all-hands meeting or something big like that.
I tell my teams not to send an invite out until they have a defined goal and agenda for that meeting. These are to be stated in the meeting invite.
One of the most often overlooked aspects of teamwork is leadership. Tech teams are usually loaded with creative deep thinkers who all want to voice their ideas. This means somebody has to play the tiebreaker. This is a daily need for most teams. I have seen so many good projects fail at deliveries due to indecision and lack of decisiveness. These scenarios all boil down to a lack of leadership. If you’re trying to get something to market quickly before the opportunity fizzles or before the scope changes you have to be ready to step in and lead to keep the team moving even at the cost of finding out you were wrong down the road.