Project Management

Progress not Perfection: The Importance of simple steps in Digital Transformation

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I spoke to a law firm's technology leader a few weeks ago about how she planned to further develop their digital transformation plans.

One of their practices is family law, and we talked about their work so far to help clients plan their inheritance.  Here is what they had done as a first step.  They had sent the clients an online form to fill in and had the questions and answers automatically put into a PDF document and emailed to the lawyer the client was going to meet.  This simple step is a stroke of brilliance.

This is not the most technologically challenging thing in the world to do.  Nor is it perfect.  But it is an awful lot better than what was happening before.  

Before the firm implemented the online form, the first meeting would be the client telling their lawyer many essential details.  Did they have children?  Did they own a property or many properties?  The lawyer would be scribbling notes or frantically typing fields into the matter management system.  Time would fly by, and the meat of the discussion would be limited.  Now the lawyer showed up with all the details in hand, and that vital first face-to-face engagement with the client was more advice-driven, more productive and gave a better impression of the firm.

The point here is that it is best to start simple and expand step by step. In the 'hyperagile' world of no-code, where you can make a change in minutes and release a new version in seconds, you don't need to get to perfect before release, just to better.  ('Hyperagile' - good, isn't it?  It's your new favourite awful buzzword.)

Delivering better often and not perfect at some unknown point in the future has some critical advantages.

First, you deliver value to your end users faster.  In this case, the frontline lawyer and client got a precious improvement in performance from something straightforward.  And that means they are now more open to other changes that the digital transformation programme may bring.

The second benefit is much less obvious.  

If you are going to shoot for perfection, you have to know what perfection looks like.  But the chances are you have no idea.  People with different points of view will have different visions of the ideal.  And, of course, what is perfect now may not be in a few months.   

If you are delivering progress, you don't have to have that model of perfection.  You can change and evolve as you go along.  It is better to deliver the next step and get actual usage data and feedback that guides you to the next stage than to strive for some abstract ideal.

It is something that the software industry has learned painfully over the years, and it is a lesson that anyone leading digital transformation should remember.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 28, 2022 09:55 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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ADAWEZE MADUAKOR Quintillion Anchorage, Ak, USA
Love this.. excellence is the enemy of good.

Eduin Fernando Valdes Alvarado Project Manager| F y F Fabricamos Futuro Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia
Very interesting thanks for sharing

Khai Ng. IT Project Manager| TTGroup Hanoi, Viet Nam
Thank you for your sharing! Perfection is surely not a perfect approach to digital transformation but organizations will definitely suffer when all things are progressed in an agile way of working (or Hyperagile). I saw many software projects discontinued just after short time of launching. The reason behinds it is the software products are developed following an agile model without good enough design architectures so they can not be upgraded or expanded when new requirements emerge.

Bamidele Apata Project manager | IBADAN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Thanks for sharing. starting is key, we strive for perfection along the way.

Isaiah Kpeagbara Senior CRM Consultant| Deglad Consulting Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A million mile journey always begins with one step! A prudent approach to the transformation journey

Danny Seow Tokyo, Japan
Simple steps in digital transformation are essential for making the process more manageable and less intimidating for organizations.

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