Event: CSI IT 2020, IIT Mumbai
Not mobile first.. Think first !
A lot gets written about the new wave of enterprise mobile application development. Platforms, Tools, Frameworks and Magic Wands..(ok.. i made that up) not a day goes without breaking news in these areas. The success & ROI of a few enterprise mobile initiatives gets widely reported while many failures go unnoticed.
This information gap has led many enterprises to take the plunge without adequately planning to mitigate the risks and thereby failing to meet desired outcomes.
Lured by the potential , trapped by the challenges. They take a pitfall !
Definition : pitfall ‘A hidden , not easily recognized danger ‘
I was invited to speak on this topic based on my experience and this article is a written form of the session. I have purposely steered clear of technical details , that i will reserve for a followup article.
#Everything starts with a set of tall requirements + high expectations + #1 priority list
If you are ever asked to do an RCA (Root Cause Analysis ) — Please do it here
#Most mobile projects fail for the exact same reasons as any other project
Only difference being that mobile is 10X more complex because of its nature..
Avoiding the pitfalls
I have tried to focus on the common pitfalls and how to avoid them. For the sake of current trends in title publishing let me call it “The 4C’s” for a better recall
- Clarity you have
- Choices you make
- Control you show
- Change you manage
Clarity you have
Understand mobile technology constraints
SmartPhones, Tablets, Phablets comes in all shapes and forms, Display, Memory, Network, Capabilities, Storage, Associated App Store rules, UX Guidelines etc –Get a clear understanding of your type of user and their environment, build applications for them.
Unlimited Opinions ! Everyone has an opinion when it comes to mobile. They feel they should be part of the change. Listen, Filter, Prioritize, Test Feasibility, Plan
Prepare for surprises
Before you finish you start again – Mobile ecosystem changes every 3, 6, 9 months with major changes every year – This is not an exception this is the norm, prepare yourself, your teams and stakeholders to embrace change
Choices you make
Experience Vs Management
Technology is all about choices, choosing what is right depends on what problem you are trying to solve and how. Make careful assessments of choices offered, choose one that fits your unique needs.
If experience is foremost aka. great UX/UI, Fluid, High Performance, Secure application adopt native development but if manageability tops your list you will have to be ready to give up some experience . I am yet to see tools that offer both but the gap is fast closing. Approaches vary between Native, Pure HTML5, Cross Platform Natives & Runtimes and Hybrid ..more on this in my next article.
Be cognizant of the resources you have in terms of Budgets, Skilled People, Timelines and plan with them in mind. A possible approach is to have the big picture in mind and work out a strategy with a roadmap to get there in small steps.
Existing Data Sources , Formats, Availability
Mobility data needs or different , its context – Your readiness factor in going mobile needs to be evaluated first. In my experience not all functions within an enterprise is ready or in most cases not ready to meet the real expectations from the mobile project.
Data needs to be transformed to meet different context and use cases. It is advisable to spend some time internally to identify data sources, formats , its relevance to context and the availability / access mechanisms.
Control you show
Requirements keeps coming, changing and taking new forms left uncontrolled –Not having process in place to control can freak you and the project.
Mobile projects give high visibility to stakeholders involved. These are early days so there is general excitement in the air to add on new things, some things that they see, hear or to please their sponsors who saw something in a recent business travel. User Experience and Interfaces are the most subjective areas and the greatest areas of debate.
While ideas should be welcome, it is advised to put in proper curation process for ideas so that teams can test its feasibility and value.
The fear of failure is human nature. Its our primal instinct. Mobile projects being highly visible in the Enterprise, especially the customer facing applications , the fear factor with managers are very high. The constant change in the ecosystem and the possibility of the application breaking with the next best update cannot be brushed aside. The service provider, internal IT teams and business have to work together to identify and take proactive measures. Some control is with us, some with the app store . Being aware is a possible solution
Change you manage
Requirement Vs Impact
Every new requirement has a double impact. Blindly translating requests into requirements is one of the mistakes we as service providers do. Clients are typically unaware unless impacts are carefully articulated. Time and resources should be set aside in parallel to evaluate impact early and not left to emerge as surprises later
Experiment – A / B , 80 :20
Not all things need to be accomplished day one. A / B testing is one form of experimenting to identify what makes your app stick and create the engagement you strived for. Remember 80:20 rule, spend time in identifying the impactful functions and ways people use them. Make decisions based on data evidence and not on personal biases
Being aware of the 4C’s and working with vendors as partners can lead to better outcomes in mobile projects. In my next article i will cover some details on Approach to mobile development and magic wands for real !