One of the challenges with getting a new OSS or OSS transformation project completed can be the large number of dependencies that can cause momentum gridlock. If you’re looking to deliver business value in one big-bang, which is a really common approach to delivering OSS projects, then you end up juggling many different activities and hoping they all align at the right times.
I’ve noticed that the vendors tend to design their delivery schedules around big-bang / waterfall approaches like below.
Many vendors will even assure you that this is their standard practice and are hesitant to consider changes to their “best practice” delivery scheduling. Having been involved in many of these types of deliveries in the past, on both vendor and customer side, I can assure you that they rarely work well.
Generally speaking, the gridlocks occur on the customer-side, but the result is detrimental to customer and vendor alike. Hold-ups mean inefficient allocation of resources as well as the resultant cost / time over-runs.
The alternative is to apply a bit more lateral thinking to how you break down the work into smaller chunks. The lateral thinking work breakdown aims are two-fold:
- How to break up the work so that it best avoids dependencies; whilst also
- Delivering some sort of value to the customer
There are many dependencies on a typical OSS project – hardware, procurement, IT infrastructure, network connectivity, security, approvals, integrations, licensing, resource availability, data quality and many more. However, each different customer, their org chart and project has its own unique mix of dependencies, so I don’t subscribe to the “best practice” argument to project delivery.
The diagram below shows an example of an alternate breakdown. The business value chunks that are delivered might be tiny in some cases, but at least momentum can be demonstrated. Rather than having a mass of entwined dependencies, you can isolate and minimise dependencies for that sliver of business value. When the dependency/ies has cleared, you can jump straight onto the next activity from an existing build-state rather than having to align all the activities to land in perfect precision.