agile business

What does agile look like in your business?

24 July 2019Katarzyna Cienkosz

There’s no such thing as a digital business these days. There are just businesses in a digital world.

At least that’s our view of things at Cognifide. If you tuned into the first episode of The Experience Makers podcast recently, you’ll have heard our CTO, Cleve Gibbon, in discussion with Econsultancy’s Ashely Friedlein, on the business model that’s disrupting industries around the globe, the platform business model. Uber, Spotify, Netflix, Airbnb and their contemporaries are technology companies at heart, but it’s the business model that the technology enables that characterises this new breed, allowing producers and consumers to exchange value and generate revenue via the platform.

At the heart of the model lies unparalleled customer-centricity, thanks to the data exchange that it promotes. You sign up to buy products or services and, in doing so, give up some of your personal data for the great service that you get back in exchange. As your relationship with the business evolves, you’ll tell them more about yourself - they’ll know about the places you visit frequently or the music genres that you prefer to listen to. And all the while they’re building a picture of you so that they can create more products and services that you (and their other customers) will buy. Sounds easy?

Well, it’s not! Behind that seamless value exchange are new ways of working that more traditional companies are struggling to embrace. It’s hard to become agile overnight when your traditional production cycles take years. And it’s hard to be all about the customer when you’ve always been all about the product. At the very least, you’ll need to define a whole new set of capabilities that hinge around technology, but require a wholesale mindset shift, new skills and new processes to drive.

At the heart of this new platform ecosystem, you’ll need an exceptional delivery team that excels in delivering quality that you can ship on time and on budget. The delivery team are the heartbeat of this iterative process that will allow you to plan, build, calibrate, launch, measure optimise, sustain…...and then repeat.

However, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to shaping a team around your business. So we base our service offering around three different engagement models and employ one or a combination of two or three across an engagement, depending on the complexity of the platform and project.

Fixed price, fixed scope

Working with you on a fixed price, fixed scope basis, we’ll provide you with a new technology platform, taking on the risk of delivery. We’ll work with you to define an implementation roadmap, which we’ll adjust as necessary as we deliver the project, all using our own best practice tools and processes and with delivery governance built in.

This model will suit you best if you are building a new platform from scratch, you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and you have secured the budget to do it. We’ll work with you to define the scope up front and you can be sure of an MVP on time and on budget. We can also work with your teams to provide them with the documentation and training to take the platform on, should you want to bring delivery in-house at this stage.

Velocity based, agile delivery

In this scenario, we provide you with a team that will provide a consistent set of story points, on an on-going basis, for as long as you need them. We’ll use our tools and development practices but we’ll tailor them to your business and we’ll work alongside your existing team if that works best for you.

Velocity based, agile delivery is an approach we would typically use after an initial go live when you would like to add new capabilities. You’ll have full control over your priorities and scope, while we guarantee the outcomes.

Time and materials engineering

This is ideal for situations in which you wish to augment an existing team, maintaining control over the nature of the delivery, but you need deep technical experience to help make it happen.

Essentially you are hiring resource, which we can supply either on-site or working from one of our Cognifide offices. Typically, you’d hire by role or a named person and we would rotate either on a fairly regular basis to ensure that we’re continually offering you the best service. This is a great solution when you have a strong in-house team that needs augmenting for a fixed period of time.

The hybrid - a typical platform build scenario

In most cases, we’ll deliver a platform using a combination of all three models. We’ll apply a fixed price model where there are well defined streams of work, critical points in platform build, or where there are key milestones that can’t be missed.

To enhance existing platform capabilities, where scope and priorities require flexibility, we’d typically revert to the velocity model. And to support your team in time-boxed activities, such as hardening, UAT or Go-Live support, we’d offer resource on a time and materials or points basis. At the same time, we can upskill your in-house team by engaging them in the development process on a T&M basis.

Agile delivery is the blood flow of any modern, customer-centric business and when the parameters are clear up front, teams can work together in a more seamless fashion, communicating clearly to get the job done.

To hear more about why you should Get Platformed or Die Trying, download the launch episode of The Experience Makers podcast. Or, to learn more about agile delivery at Cognifide, email us and let us know how we can help.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina

Author: Katarzyna Cienkosz
Published: 24 July 2019
agileauthoringcustomer experiencedigital platformsproject management

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