At Blueprint, we are about creating the next big thing. We work with our clients and their businesses to decide what technologies they can derive tangible value from. There are many initiatives going on at Blueprint to help our clients realize the benefits of delivering both the strategy and finished product or process. In my tenure at Blueprint, I’ve never seen another organization go so far above and beyond to deliver results. It’s great to be on a team that is looking to change the world and help our clients achieve excellence within their verticals.
Innovation is difficult. At Blueprint, we take steps that seem simple, but require an iterative mindset that is okay with periodic failures during the execution cycle. You grow to understand that there is no such thing as a single project, but instead, start to think about implementations as a value delivering product or service that will never be complete until retired from use. Not everyone can handle this mental shift, but Blueprint does it with some basic concepts.
- Connect Strategy to Execution
Strategy is enabled by capabilities. Capabilities are delivered in many fashions. Features and functionality help to support these capabilities. Teams deliver these through technology or process initiatives. The point to take away here is that alignment is needed up and down the value chain. An individual user story must align with the strategic vision. You need to have both technical and business-minded people focused on this alignment. Keeping the strategic and tactical aligned will produce the results and the value you expect.
- Experiments, Missions, and Gamification
Many projects are deemed failures because execution methods are not based on the reality of how software and process initiatives are implemented. Gone are the days where you can follow an upfront plan. Gone are the days when you have the luxury to plan more than a few weeks out with a level of certainty because of how fast market dynamics change. We need to change our thinking about the process of how we go about delivery. There are three concepts which are needed:
Experimentation – What you think will work often doesn’t. What you think won’t work, often may. How do you figure out the path forward? Experimentation! The best teams I’ve work with approach innovation like a mad scientist who understands the value of creating a hypothesis and testing theories. This generates feedback loops – and is critical for innovative work.
Missions & Gamification – These concepts go hand-in-hand. A mission is something that requires focus and creates some form of benefit. Sending our teams out to complete a mission builds an empowered mindset. Compare that to asking teams to do a single task without a clear view of the vision. Delivery is stronger for mission-based teams. For task-based teams, you may get things done, but since tasks are rarely traced back to strategy, you will be missing understanding and the vision you need to get the best solution.
Gamifying this mindset makes execution even more powerful. We all work in teams and knowing that everyone is there to complete a mission is more valuable than anyone could ever imagine. Build this into your delivery culture and work to make the best outcomes happen. Find other ways to motivate teams so they are part of something bigger. It’s amazing seeing teams respond when you tell them that they will be the best in the world at something and giving them the tools to make that come true.
- FIND A WAY!
We live in a time when anything can be done if you have the money and effort. I have a canned response now anytime I hear can’t or no – “What can you do if you had no limits or constraints?” This removes the person’s mindset from the current constraints and opens a clean slate. “No” and “can’t” are gone, and brainstorming begins. From there, you slice and dice possibilities down to options which may work in the original problem context. You find ways that will work, weigh the pros and cons, and go on a mission!
I bet many of you reading this article expected me to discuss methods such as Scrum, Kanban, or blends that could be Blueprint’s secret sauce. Honestly, delivery is not about frameworks – it’s a disciplined mindset. Blueprint’s culture and the points discussed above are engrained in all our consultants. We make things happen because we connect strategy to execution, we understand that failure sometimes happens in the search for the next big thing. We create missions to prove our solutions will deliver the expected value, and we don’t take no for an answer. That’s why Blueprint is a special place – we get the right things done and deliver value. We are the best in the world at this.
More about Grady: As a Consultant for Blueprint Consulting Services, a nationwide full-service consulting firm that specializes in identifying and implementing business transformation solutions, Grady Brumbaugh has managed teams and new product development for close to 20 years. While his focus is on software development, he’s applied his learnings to all types of projects. He’s been an Agile coach and Scrum master for close to 10 years and enjoys simplifying delivery so that products and processes return value quickly.