There’s a lot to be said for Nike’s “Just Do It!” (no IT pun intended here), but when it comes to IT jumping to code may not be the best approach. Just as embarking on a journey to a new land involves “discovery”, you need to do the same to increase the odds you’ll end up where you intended. So, what does discovery mean when it comes to implementing an IT solution in your business? As Simon Sinek articulates so well in his Ted Talk, let’s start by explaining the Why.
Discovery is a process by which your business (and your IT partner if one is involved) understands why a certain IT solution is required. There needs to be a clear understanding across all stakeholders why the anticipated outcomes warrant the investment of resources. The first deliverable of a discovery process is to define why those outcomes are important to your business. Think of it in terms of future value the outcomes can generate for your business.
Now let’s move to the How. Once your business is convinced why, then the discovery process defines the how. You define how the desired business outcomes will be produced, and how they will be measured.
Finally let’s move to the What. Here you define two things. First, what is required to deliver the outcomes (people, investment, time, etc.). Second, you define the metrics to be achieved by the outcomes.
By detailing the why, the how, and the what before you write that first big check on your IT solution you will be more confident you make the right decision for your business – whether it is to move forward or not. You also create a shared need for change and can articulate the outcomes and the value those outcomes will deliver to your business.
You ask why and what may happen if you forgo discovery and just “do IT”? Statistics show that as many as 60% of all IT projects fail. Sure, a percentage of those failures result from poor execution. But many fail as a simple result of poor planning. You may also know of a few IT projects that did not produce the desired outcomes envisioned. Or worse yet, when an IT vendor was involved, the failure resulted in a costly date in court. These can be avoided. Before you make a large investment in an IT Solution, make the smart investment in discovery to get your ducks in a row.