How To FIRE Your Customer-facing App
Just finished reading an insightful new book from project management pro and military technology expert Dan Ward. An informative writing with wonderful asides and management war stories.
The insight: the best customer experience platforms and tools aren’t the most expensive and complicated.
And the proper way of doing them can be summarized in the FIRE acronym, inspired by the lean design principles, is embedded in the approach and tools used by some of the best technology developers in the world:
- “Fast” – The shorter the schedule and timeline are, the better your project outcome will be.
- “Inexpensive” – A small budget is more functional than a big budget. Financial capital is not the key factor; intellectual capital is what really matters.
- “Restrained” – Limit the documents you create, the time of the meetings you conduct, the budgets you allocate, the teams you direct and the schedules you set.
- “Elegant” – Shoot for project elements that are pleasingly ingenious and simple. Prioritize true design maturity and true process simplicity.
You are far more likely to deliver top-shelf results when you are working under constraints than when you are getting all the money, time and people you think you need. It seems counterintuitive, but in typical digital customer experience projects, such as customer-facing app developments, leaders who get large budgets, large teams and long schedules are unlikely to meet all – or even most – of their project objectives.
Actually project leaders with the largest budgets are statistically most likely to ask for more money and least likely to deliver an actual working product. The more time and money you spend on the thing, the more complicated it gets, which in turn drives up the cost and schedule even further as we wrestle with all the complexity.
In addition to FIRE, a good complement to maximize your effectiveness as a digital customer experience project leader is NASA’s “Faster, Better, Cheaper” (FCB) program, built on five operating principles:
- “Do it wrong” – Create numerous “quick-and-dirty prototypes.” Many will fail, but you can learn from your mistakes.
- “Reject good ideas” – Stay focused on the primary goal for your project.
- “Simplify and accelerate” – Design your work to be clear and quick.
- “Avoid innovation for innovation’s sake” – For easier, faster testing and operating.
“Failure is an option” – If everything works perfectly, you’re not pushing the limits.
In a world of rapid change, long-term projects are a losing proposition:
- Apply FIRE and FCB, focusing on building things you know how to build, using things you know how to use.
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, the world is a big place with billions of people and a plenty of tools: be clever, do your research, then choose and use the right platform and partner.
Simplicity ain’t simple, while complexity usuallyindicates an immature design.
Your most successful projects will always be the least complicated.