Dec 7, 2020
Lessons From the Field
Part 1: Objectives & Decomposition
Written by Craig Vosper, Chief Delivery Officer
Over the past few months, I’ve written about how we do things at Clientek and the types of individuals we look for to execute our work. I thought I’d go over some of the lessons, good and bad, that have helped us get to this point. The hope is that these lessons will help you either avoid downfalls or see how they can be applied to your own projects.
The first lesson I want to review is the importance of defining objectives and decomposing your backlog. As an example, we had an engagement in which we were helping a customer replace an old Microsoft CE platform with an iOS based mobile platform for their field specialists. The application provided scheduling and dispatch instructions; allowing the service technicians to record all their on-site visit activities.
During the inception phase of the engagement, we had identified three primary objectives for the replacement. The amount of time spent recording visits, the accuracy of the information being gathered, and the speed at which invoices were submitted.
In their previous application, there were sections that required substantial duplicate entry. This led to their technicians spending upwards of 30 minutes after each visit recording what they did on-site. These duplicate entries also caused significant data discrepancies as many individuals would enter data differently the second time around.
The last objective was focused on minimizing the time between completing a service and submitting the final invoice. In their previous application, the syncing mechanism was slow and required special technology to enable. This meant that service technicians would often only sync their data once a week.
As the project unfolded, we discovered additional features and requirements. These new learnings threatened to delay the initial release by up to 6 weeks and we needed to ensure that all their technicians could use the application once completed.
We were fortunate enough to have decomposed our backlog based on service type and this meant almost half of the service technicians could begin using the application to complete all their services right away. With this information, we proposed a release schedule that targeted those specific technicians and allowed us to begin achieving impacts against the defined objectives.
The service technicians included in the first release began realizing a reduction in service recording time and the back-office recognized significant improvement in data accuracy. This all led to our client being able to invoice for those services faster – providing validation for our platform solution.
While this solution was simple, had we not understood the objectives of the business and decomposed our backlog appropriately, we could have been in a situation in which we would’ve needed 6 additional weeks to begin providing value.