Cloud is now a staple. However, most IT service providers still operate as they did before the advent of the cloud.
Modern cloud platforms like ServiceNow have streamlined the process significantly by providing extendable modules that expedite the delivery of value. It requires discipline and design prowess to build something functional and satisfying quickly, then progressively enhance it. The challenge lies in managing expectations regarding budget, time constraints, and customer satisfaction.
A favorite analogy of mine equates IT project implementation to the process of building or selecting a house. Traditional IT projects and conventional home construction both typically involve a careful sequence of planning, design, and implementation. For many years, this meticulous approach has been the standard for delivering IT projects, and it may still be applicable for larger, more complex tasks.
However, today's cloud technologies are transforming this model, offering instantaneous deployment as soon as selection and contracting are performed. There is no need to wait long to procure hardware, install the hardware, deploy software, test the software, and do all the other steps with traditional in-house software. Despite this innovation, businesses with unique processes, time constraints, and personnel considerations must adjust to leverage these cloud technologies effectively.
Modular: Homes, Agile, PRINCE2 & Cloud Technologies
Traditional home construction begins with a foundation, followed by walls, a roof, and so on. Each stage is completed and inspected independently, yet its full value is not realized until all components are constructed. A friend (one of our original architects at INRY) recounted building his modular house, which was pre-made in a factory, divided into four separate parts, and later assembled on-site. This modular approach forgoes the traditional initial foundation and instead, it is installed almost at the end. This contradicts conventional wisdom but aligns with the modern paradigms of IT projects. Innovative concepts have introduced the idea of building a house in stages or following expandable plans. Construct just enough to inhabit, and then progressively add on additional components. This method challenges the traditional belief that a significant wait is required before occupying a new house.
Modular IT is not new; it has been around for a long time and has been proven over decades.
The modularity and habitability of ServiceNow:
ServiceNow has multiple “modules” or products or apps. These products can be used to serve a wide array of internal business uses like human resources, IT, procurement, facilities, and external-facing business operations like customer-facing operations, sales, and marketing. Each of these products provides rich features and capabilities straight “out of the box” so that you can quickly start delivering business value. These products are pre-made in the ServiceNow factory, very feature-rich, and built on best practices from thousands of companies and millions of users using these products.
However, each customer is unique with their own set of requirements, processes, constraints, and multiple other considerations that require tailoring the factory-built software to customer-specific uses. This is where some industry best practices come in handy.
Modular planning and governance:
PRINCE2 is a structured project management method, very popular in Europe and Australia but also very global in adoption. PRINCE2 emphasizes dividing projects into “manageable and controllable stages.” PRINCE2 also provides knowledge of how to plan, manage and deliver projects from start to finish using stages. The emphasis with PRINCE2 is more on planning and governance, with prescriptive approaches for managing by stages.
We can use these principles to break down seemly large complicated projects into smaller deliverable manageable projects. The same PRINCE2 guidance can be used to ensure business value is delivered and managed through the lifecycle.
Beyond planning and governance, the real test is when ServiceNow is being delivered or implemented.
Agile software development practices are adopted globally, ubiquitous in technology, and have millions of proponents. The Agile Alliance captures some key principles: advocate early and continuous delivery of valuable software (Principle 1), Deliver working software frequently (Principle 3), and working software is the primary measure of progress (Principle 7) .” The underlying theme is breaking up projects into smaller, manageable iterations or 'sprints' = modular software development. Agile encompasses a lot of practices, processes, methodologies, and frameworks, all delivered through tools that help guide all the people involved (developers, business stakeholders, and more).
Each customer is unique with their own needs and wants. These challenging conversations about time, scope, cost, and perception constraints can create short-term solutions but need longer-term awareness, planning, communication, and perception management.
We leverage practices PRINCE2 to break down complicated projects into manageable stages. We leverage practices from Agile to drive continuous focus and alignment on business outcomes through the development cycle. We call this delivery methodology PASS: Process Area Specific Sprints. By selecting ServiceNow and choosing to pay for the licenses, our customers have made a choice on the outcomes they need with the capabilities ServiceNow provides. We package our services around these outcomes into SMART success offerings built on the concepts of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
This has helped us deliver hundreds of projects repeatably and predictably. We have become a top 10 ServiceNow Elite Partner globally and compete with the global giants!
Some of our best customers deliver quick value through the first SMART Success and drive the long process planning and iteration while successfully leveraging and adapting to new capabilities while keeping their stakeholders informed and satisfied!