Best Practices for Success in Enterprise Solution Delivery
How adopting the right mindset can lead to successful enterprise solution delivery.
Enterprise solution delivery (ESD) practices can help your software development (DEV) team stay flexible and responsive.
ESD’s customer-centric, iterative, and collaborative framework makes adapting to rising industry standards easier.
This work environment leads to a reduction in overhead costs and keeps your clients happy.
However, ESD can be challenging to implement without the appropriate mindset, tools, and skills. This article will explore how combining all three can help your DEV team stay competitive in today’s saturated and consumer-focused digital landscape.
What is the ESD Mindset?
It is essential to keep customer focus and business value orientation in mind when scaling ESD across DEV teams.
Think of customer focus like Polaris. It will guide you through the depths of programming sessions or strategy calls. You’ll need to make sure all decisions provide the best possible user experience, which is akin to business value.
To do this, you have to digest your client’s needs.
You should know what they like and don’t like about engaging with your service.
Moreover, keeping them involved is imperative throughout the development and deployment process.
The continuous cycle of communication and feedback is essential to understanding and adapting to your customer’s desires; this is the ESD mindset.
Consider how the following tips can help to get you started.
How to Be Customer-Focused
Define the Target Audience and Understand their Needs.
The first step of being customer-focused involves reflection and brainstorming.
Take time to understand what you do best and why your customer wants to work with you. Defining your offering and how it sets you apart from the competition can help to characterize potential customers.
You specify this group by outlining their needs and how you’ll meet them better than anyone else.
There is more to this process, which we’ll get into later. However, for now,
Foundation Inc. Director of Strategy Josh Gallant suggests asking yourself these four questions to gain clarity:
- What’s the number one thing your clients are using you for?
- Who would benefit most from what you offer?
- What are the primary pain points you address?
- What makes you and your business unique?
Create User Personas to Specify Customer Needs.
A user persona is a fictitious character representing your potential client’s background, desires, buying process, and location.
If your customer is another business, Anteraid CEO and Forbes Council Member Rob Sanchez says to take a holistic approach to your research.
The information you collect should consider the perspectives of your potential client’s entire organization. Forming a holistic understanding of a customer’s needs and speaking to them gives your team a competitive advantage.
Otherwise known as demographics and psychographics, knowing this information will help you generate a prototype of the customer you are trying to serve.
BrightEdge Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Lemuel Park suggests using outbound surveys and data-driven analytics to understand the purchase patterns of your client.
If that’s another business, research their customer base. This information clarifies what makes the target audience click, allowing you to personalize your offerings better.
You can store such data in a requirements management tool, which gathers, documents, and tracks knowledge.
Consider categorizing your findings into functional and non-functional requirements.
The first defines what product and features your service needs to complete its purpose.
The second concerns user experience; examples include identity and access management or the site’s speed.
Examples include designing the welcome page of a client’s app or updating two-factor authentication preferences according to user feedback.
This cross-functional and collaborative digital space ensures programming and user experience meet the client’s requirements.
That’s because the project manager has complete visibility of the team’s tasks and customer desires.
Moreover, it’s their job to ensure constant alignment. They share updates between the client and the development team.
Such platforms also encourage visibility between roles. Employees can spot and troubleshoot bugs early.
This agile style of working allows for the continuous delivery of high-quality software.
Maintain Regular Communication with your Customer.
Keep your user personas on hand throughout the development and testing process.
Remember to refine these stories based on updated outbound surveys or ongoing SEO, SERp, and social media research.
This data will help your enterprise continuously respond to the queries and concerns of your client’s target audience.
“Organizations want to do business with authoritative, helpful, and knowledgeable companies,”
As the seller, ensure your services maintain value by staying updated on your customer’s evolving interests and needs.
Otherwise known as requirements gathering, this skill involves working with clients to understand and respond to their desires and pain points. Often, you’ll find this information reflects the feedback of their audience.
Get ahead by doing your user research, so you come to each meeting with a portfolio of tailored solutions.
Staying prepared this way may create space to design and pitch updates that speak to your client’s future needs – before they know they want them.
This excellent communication and adaptive problem-solving will keep your team competitive.
Understanding Business Value
Providing business value is the primary goal of software development.
The client and DEV team collaborate through the project manager to form this objective, centered around providing the best possible user experience.
The project manager must be organized and flexible, with exceptional listening and communication skills.
Their ability to plan, schedule, and track the DEV team’s progress is essential to generating a quality product that aligns with an organization’s objectives.
Tips for ensuring the successful delivery of business value include:
Define Measurable Business Objectives Upfront.
Reference your updated user persona to define and categorize measurable business objectives throughout the project.
It will ensure each new development speaks to your customer needs.
One way to keep your team members on track is by analyzing how updates or solutions meet the following four requirements.
Kava Content Designer Alicia Nurkiewicz suggests strategizing business decisions in this way increases your chances of delivering unique value.
“Value (understood from a human perspective) consists of 30 needs that go into four categories,”
- Functional (saving time or reducing effort)
- Emotional (reducing anxiety or providing fun)
- Life-changing (providing motivation or enabling self-organization)
- Social impact (giving people a sense of purpose and fulfillment)
Each measurable objective should provide one or more of the values mentioned above. People love the meditation application (app) Calm because it helps them manage stress.
Alternatively, apps like Uber are immensely successful because they are cheaper and safer than taking a taxi.
One survey by CleverTap found that 39.9 percent of responders deleted apps on their phones simply because they weren’t helpful.
So make sure you take time to understand how each business objective will provide use to your customer.
Plan for and Track Business Value Throughout the Project.
Consistently analyzing client needs and tracking them in your requirements-gathering tool is essential for maintaining business value throughout the project.
Your users’ desires may change in response to the deployment model, so stay competitive by adapting to their changing needs.
We suggest working with a business analyst as they can help ensure new solutions still provide value to your client.
They’ll also assess the potential risks of each decision, so you have a whole idea of whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.
Most Agile organizations will build, test, and deploy the most viable solutions in two to four-week iterations called sprints.
To keep up, ensure your development and testing platform seamlessly integrates with the requirements management tool. Doing so will streamline your team’s ability to access and input user feedback throughout each sprint.
This iterative approach allows for continuously delivering high-quality, scalable software to track and grow your client’s business value.
Conduct Post-implementation Reviews (PIR) to Assess Delivered Business Value.
A successful PIR helps teams working on similar projects in the future learn from the mistakes of current iterations.
It’s also an opportunity for your client to ensure business value has been delivered or brainstorm how to close remaining gaps.
Professional training platform Mind Tools suggests asking the following questions to initiate a productive PIR.
- Did the project completely solve the problem it was designed to address?
- Can we take things further and deliver even more significant benefits?
- What lessons did we learn that we can apply to future projects?
Use this information to guide the development of new projects to avoid making the same mistakes.
Learning this way also creates space to spot future user requirements before customers know they want them, helping your organization stay ahead of the game regarding successful ESD.
Case Study: Successful ESD for a Large Reinsurer
A large reinsurer called Reign asked its Chief Information Officer (CIO) to improve its multi-factor authentication process.
Clients complained of long wait times while the system verified their information for login. Mobile users also expressed having to scroll over too much white space before accessing the toggle bar.
The CIO (let’s call her Mackenzie) hosted a sprint planning session with Reign’s DEV team and UX designers to assess its existing software programs and strategize new practices.
The company’s challenges included outdated programming, burnout complaints from DEV staff, and disconnects between IT and design.
ESD Initiatives to streamline development and operational practices were:
- Extensive business analysis to ensure business, IT, and design objectives align to enhance user experience effectively.
- Internal requirements gathering to ready the transition of current software engineering tools to industry leaders like IBM Rational Suite.
The team then categorized these queries into functional and non-functional requirements, which Mackenzie stored in the organization’s existing requirements management tool.
As the project manager, she hosted daily stand-ups and sprint reviews to track and analyze project deliverables.
Furthermore, an outbound survey was added to each user’s verification method to gauge their response to shortening wait times and the updated design.
The team iteratively applied this feedback to each new sprint.
Over time, they constructed a digital roadmap of efficiency and improvement.
The exercise helped the organization cut verification wait times by 45 seconds.
Additionally, mobile users experienced large text instead of white space, making toggle bars easier to see and navigate!
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