Are you planning a new digital project, and you want to ensure it will go the right way? Indeed, digital projects often fail to meet the desired outcome; they can overrun or be over budget. Research shows that 70% of organisations have suffered at least one project failure in the prior 12 months.
But why do projects fail so often? Being in the tech space for more than 10 years, we have heard many horror stories and have experienced some ourselves. Most of the time, people have an idea about how they want their new digital product or service to look & feel and start working with just this in mind. They don't discuss open issues and critical behaviours from the beginning, the key stakeholders paying for the project are not aligned with the internal team tasked with delivering it or their objectives don’t match the brief to the agency. In some cases, businesses are so focused on the new exciting product they are launching that they forget about the users and their needs.
This results in poor briefs that often don't capture the objectives and goals, may have unrealistic expectations or timelines before the project has begun. Often causing delays in the project delivery, increased costs, stressed teams and ultimately project failure.
If so many are experiencing these issues how did we manage to step off the treadmill and ensure our project successes? This article will share our success recipe.
The Fusion Process
The problems mentioned above prove that the way most digital agencies work with their customers is broken. Over-promising, cost escalation and poor quality assurance usually come as standard.
We've changed the game through Calls9 Fusion, our collaborative way of working that drives successful project outcomes. During this process, we bring everyone together to discuss and capture every detail of your project, from your business context and customers to your project functionality. We ensure that all parties are aligned on the project's objectives, and we all share the same vision for success.
The Fusion process creates clear success criteria. It includes a detailed scope of work that helps estimate costs accurately, breaks communication barriers and acts as a single point of truth for the project.
#1 Understand your project context
Why project scope is key to digital project success? Let's start with an example. Imagine wanting to start a garden, you are very excited, and you go to the gardening shop and ask for the flowers and plants you've seen on the Internet. The shop employee doesn't ask any questions, and they just give you what you asked for. However, when you plant your flowers, you realise that they can't grow properly; some of them are out of season, some others are incompatible with your soil, and the whole experience is not the one you've expected.
Project context saves you from this pain. It is all about asking the right questions to the right people from the start.
So, the first step of our Fusion process is just that. We bring the relevant people to the room and work together to understand the project context by asking the right questions, ensuring your team is aligned on the objectives of the project as well as seeing the possibilities. During these sessions, we create conversations that can be extremely beneficial for your project and wouldn't have happened otherwise.
#2 Map out who will use your digital solution
Understanding all the different users of your digital solution is key to the project's success. When you create a digital product or service for your customers, you need to know exactly what functionality they require, what experience they expect and how they will use your product or service. Another key part is thinking about the employee experience and how it can improve ways of working, increase efficiencies, and how they can work with customers better using the new digital solution.
The second step of the Fusion process is all about mapping both the internal and external user personas to create user stories that will later feed the User Interface and User Experience design. This helps you really understand your users and avoid mistakes that will cause low acceptance of your new digital product or service, decreased engagement and inefficiencies.
#3 Roadmap your project to capture all the requirements
Now that the project context is captured and clearly communicated and we have a good understanding of the users, it's time to collaboratively roadmap the scope of the work. This upfront roadmapping session is designed to ensure that all parties are aligned on the project's objectives along with any wider considerations, including the detailed requirements of the project.
We bring the relevant people from your team together with our project managers, consultants, creatives and developers to discuss your project requirements using the VAK methodology. In this engaging way, we capture every last detail of your project functionality, identify potential risks from the start and figure out solutions together. At the end of this process, you will have a detailed roadmap of your project. You will know what exactly is needed to deliver every piece of functionality, who is doing what, success criteria and potential risks.
Here is an example of a scope roadmap created through our Fusion process. The detail helps all parties know what to expect and what needs to change when a new piece of scope pops up.
#4 Accurately estimate time and cost on the back of the roadmap
Having a detailed roadmap of your project requirements makes the estimation of the time and budget very accurate. With the level of detail that goes into the roadmap and the collaborative nature of the process, we are able to capture all pieces of functionality from the start, reducing the possibility of future changes and unknowns that can impact your project time and cost.
In addition, Fusion makes the estimation process transparent, as you are seeing in real-time what resources, time and materials are required to complete the project. There are no hidden costs and over or underestimation of your time and budget.
#5 Ensure quality with thorough testing
For a project to be successful, it doesn't just need to be delivered on time and within budget. It also needs to provide the value you expect. And, to achieve this, you need to involve a consultant that oversees your project from start to finish, ensuring the commercial and technical aspects of the project are delivered.
At Calls9, we make sure that your digital project is thoroughly overseen by our experts and provide ongoing quality control and quality assurance in the form of manual and automatic testing. From system tests, code and creative reviews to customer acceptance tests, and stress testing, our team ensures that your solution is developed to provide optimal user experiences, secure operation, eliminating bugs and code issues.
We have a cultural commitment to the highest quality standards, and you'll feel it from the moment you start working with us.
How we can help
- De-risk your digital project from the start: Our Fusion process can help you avoid project failure and provide you with accurate budget and time estimations. In this process, we bring your key stakeholders together in a physical or virtual room to create the brief collaboratively. It is an engaging process that uses Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic methodologies to communicate the information clearly, whatever kind of learner you are. Together we go through your business context, objectives and assess potential risks. We then collaboratively roadmap the scope of work and understand the required functionality of your project. By doing this, we ensure that all parties are aligned on the objectives of the project. We also estimate your project's cost and the time we need to complete it per piece of functionality.
- Digital project rescue: If you are mid project and it’s gone off the rails, we can get it back on track. We will help you identify why your project failed, l pinpoint any gaps in your capability and build a turnaround plan for your project. We will then create the rescue team according to your needs. This may involve expert engineers, project managers, designers and business strategists. Our team will then lead on the project turnaround, so you can rest assured that your investment isn’t lost and you can achieve the maximum ROI.
- Visit our Innovation Academy page to learn more.