Elements of success in business and technology development projects

Columbia Road
3 min readJul 31, 2023

As the summer months are coming to an end, teams are about kickstart their fall projects by setting up meetings and project formalities. Therefore it is a good time to remind ourselves what elements can impact the success of a project that involves business and technology development.

Most businesses operate in an environment where business development projects include technology development as part of the change. If a company changes, for example, their sales, service or marketing process, it is very likely that the technology enabling and supporting these processes will need to be changed as well.

For that reason, it is important to keep in mind that the development team members come from diverse backgrounds, and that they complement each other. For example, one person represents the business, some IT, another legal or compliance. This way, the wanted end-result of the project is more likely to become well adopted by the end-users (employees, clients, partners etc.) since it has been crafted by subject matter experts in their respective areas.

After forming a team with diverse backgrounds and knowledge, how do we ensure that the team works efficiently together? I hate to disappoint you that there isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution for this. This is a question that has created an abundance of development methods, practices and frameworks, and in the end, very few projects actually stick to these methods in a “pure textbook” way.

In almost all projects I’ve seen and heard about, these frameworks have been customised to fit the needs of the development effort and the team — as they should be. So what are the winning elements the high-performing teams are doing right to deliver quality work at a fast pace? In my opinion: flexibility and the ability to make adjustments when things don’t go as planned. It takes a lot of courage to admit when things are going or have already gone wrong but I’m convinced that if the team is working in a transparent and trusted environment, the team members are confident enough to flag the problems in due time so the potentially needed adjustments and pivots are much easier to tackle.

Another practice that I feel has impacted positively on the success of daily life in a project is to reserve some time at the beginning of the project to truly get to the bottom of why we are doing this (business requirements). If the project is focused on changing the way business is currently conducted and also involves tech development, be prepared to reserve time to craft the upcoming operating models and processes before moving things to the tech development backlog.

There’s a catch: craft the business requirements in a way that compromises can still be made when the actual implementation is started. This is because many technology systems today come with pre-made features that can help speed up the creation process. These ‘templates’ are a popular choice because they’re quicker, cheaper, and easier than starting from scratch with custom development. So, when planning your business processes, it’s wise to leave some wiggle room. This means you can adjust your plans to fit the pre-made templates rather than insisting on a fully personalized approach which could be costly and time-consuming.

To summarise, regardless of the actual project delivery model or framework used, the following elements can either make or break the success formula of a project:

  • A diverse development team that represents all or most aspects of the wanted change to support change management and adoption
  • A transparent and trusted environment where individuals are comfortable flagging and sharing when things are not going according to plan
  • Flexibility and ability to experiment and make pivots to original plans if they don’t work
  • Taking the time to understand and develop the business requirements before jumping into implementation
  • Ability to make compromises in business requirements if an alternative solution is more feasible to implement

I strongly recommend checking out our Customer Journey Map to get your diverse development team working together to create the foundation for your business requirements. Happy mapping, and best of luck with your upcoming projects!

Originally published at https://www.columbiaroad.com.

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Columbia Road

Nordic digital sales consultancy. We help companies get more revenue and more customers in the digital era.