From idea to reality - the All n One approach
From All n One's bxp software Wixi
bxp software is an amazing toolkit with something in there for everyone. All n One are the company who supply and support the tool. As part of partnership relationship approach with our clients we are often asked, "so how would you do this?" This wixi goes through our approaches and techniques for handling projects of any size, budget and resource constraint to get you a workable answer.
2 The Idea
2.1 A University Challenge starter for 10
Every journey has a starting point. Ideas come in many forms, shapes and sizes. Issues are a great source of inspiration. So we always start with the basics.
- Who. Who's time is being taken up? Who needs help?
- What. What is time consuming? What is being an issue? What could be optimised?
- Where. Where is the function being carried out? Where is the strategy taking the company and how does the current process align with that strategy?
- Why. Why is this process carried out? Why is it done this way? Why are the fields in there, in there? Why have we not improved the process before?
- When. When did this process start? When does this idea / process need to be in place? When would the customers like it available?
- How. How is the job executed? If a person is doing the job, could it be automated? Could steps in the process be removed? Are there numerous excel spreadsheets or even paper records involved?
In Japanese the word "muda" means wastefulness and was the key concept in Toyota's Product System which gave birth to "lean manufacturing". So how can you remove all waste from your processes?
2.2 One size fits all
No two companies are the same and have the same processes, ideals and direction. So why would one approach suit everyone. In short, it can't. In order to derive benefit from others learning, we can use frameworks. A framework is a generalised catch all approach designed to help ask pertinent questions which may or may not apply to the business. A good framework helps to make sure all the major points are covered.
Most systems and operations can be mapped to this model relatively easily. The IPO chain can seamlessly flow from one to another with output of one process being the input to another.
Let's take a bakery. Input = buy ingredients. Process = bake bread. Output = Baked bread. So process 1 is creating a product. Process 2 is Input = baked bread, Process = Sales, Output = Money.
You can take any one of these "process" parts and break them down into smaller and smaller IPO models.
2.3 It's all about the money
Before we begin any project we ask the most important question of all. Not can you... should you!
The primary reason for making any idea a reality boils down to the focus of the organisation.
- Business: To make money
- Charity: To provide for the target audience
- Professional Body / Organisation: To represent their industry / body
So, if a business, what is the "Return On Investment" of this change. This leads to two types of benefits
- Tangible benefits. Can be counted and measured.
- Intangible benefits. Can be felt, emotional and have reputation impact
Every idea should consider both, so that during the development and exploration of the idea, a scope can be formed to ensure that the primary reason you started the project is not lost.
Using our experience in project management and solution development, we can provide realistic timescales and budgets to help your initial ROI calculations.
3 The Approach
3.1 Choosing a way forward
So now that we know that there is an idea we want to focus on and that it is worthwhile, how do we set about addressing it?
All n One break the challenge into one of four approaches
- We have that already. "Existing"
- Lets try a "Hack"
- Lets build a "Prototype"
- A "Full Project" implementation
Why reinvent the wheel. The whole of the bxp toolkit is build on ever growing experience and capability. Every time a client has a new challenge it's collective improvements are added the skill set of the toolkit and the All n One team supporting the solution.
We share our experience in a number of ways.
- Scenarios. Fully worked project management approaches to solving commonly asked challenge areas. Scenarios
- Wixis. Articles in this Wikipedia which can provide step by step guides on how to address the issue. These articles can also serve as a starting point to spark creative thought or begin a discussion.
- Whitepapers & Projects. These documents are collections of good ideas and developments of a related nature that were collated into documents.
If the All n One team is needed, we are also happy to be retained on an hourly basis to review your situation and provide recommendations.
The term, not to be confused with hacking, means "cut with rough or heavy blows." The idea of a hack is not necessarily to produce any output at all. It is an exploration for a given amount of time to see what can be accomplished.
Hacks can be extremely creative sessions where everything gets thrown at an idea for a predefined amount of time with the express purpose of coming up with ideas on how a protoype or project could be applied to the problem area.
As hacks do not have predefined outputs it allows teams to explore options to come up with alternatives with a view to potentially these ideas providing solutions. If nothing comes of a hack, no harm no foul.
A hack is a wonderful tool where budget, time and relevant expert knowledge is available to contribute. Put everyone in a room with some stationary and some computers and see what they come up with.
Hacks are amazing sources of innovation and when facilitated correctly can often lead to highly optimised approaches without the need for excessive documentation and formal process. The reverse is also true that a hack can produce nothing but failed ideas.
Due to limiting the time frame of a hack the cost of a hack can vastly reduce the cost of an entire project and eliminate implausible concepts early on.
Hacks are also very useful for providing initial scope to poorly documented and unstructured domains.
Where output is required a prototype approach is ideal. With a lot more formal documentation than a hack, solutions begin to form around the problem / idea area. Timelines, inputs, processes and outputs can be documented and a working model developed based on a known define problem area.
Unlike traditional waterfall project approaches, Rapid Application Development and Agile methodologies can be employed to get an iterative model developed with regular outputs. This allows people to see and review the work as it goes along, rather than wait for a big bang launch at the end of a project (which for larger projects in this traditional approach may never come).
As bxp is so flexible, building prototypes is a matter of hours not days of projects to produce something tangible.
No matter what the development methodology preferred by All n One's clients, our team will adapt to your approach to keep things "familiar".
3.5 Full Project
Where the scope is known in advance and there are defined boundaries to the project All n One have adapted the ADDIE model to allow full projects be developed and managed. All_n_One_Project_Development_Approach
A far more formal, documented and structured approach, a full project allows for any size of organisation to tightly manage a project that spans a number of hours or even months.
As part of All n One's setup process 30 hours are allocated to generate a project to get our client's up and running on the system. This focused time frame highlights the speed, flexibility and capability of the platform to be adapted to our client's needs.
4 Where do you start?
If you're reading this article then you probably have an idea or issue you want addressed. Let us know what it is and we'll make a recommendation based on our experience of what we believe will work best for you.
- If you want to limit cost, a hack might be just thing... little to no documentation but a working something if possible to show you your idea is possible.
- If you need something a board or department can sign off on, then a prototype will probably be the way to go.
- If you have a serious project which needs close management, then let our project managers, system architects, developers and designers hand hold you through the entire experience and bring your dreams to life.
We are very proud of the project we've done and our clients are very happy with them. You can read more here [bxpsoftware.com]
So why not give us a shout and let us help you turn it from idea to reality! Phone Nick on +353 1 429 4000 or email email@example.com for more information. We look forward to working with you.