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FAST IT - When "good enough" really is good enough

Perfection can be impossible, and you can spend years chasing it without ever achieving it. Sure, if you do accomplish it then there is nothing better; but you also need to recognise that you might never get there.
Fast ITLet’s be honest: The words “good enough” don’t sound very encouraging. They imply imperfection, and in a professional environment that can feel like failure.
 
But try stripping away that emotional response, and think about the positive qualities of something that is “good enough”. It will work. It is pragmatic. You will be able to realise the benefits.
 
Now try thinking about perfection. Perfection can be impossible, and you can spend years chasing it without ever achieving it. Sure, if you do accomplish it then there is nothing better; but you also need to recognise that you might never get there.
 
So consider whether you are trying to achieve perfection with your IT programme.  And is it really achievable? Are you encountering any of the scenarios below? And are you getting stuck in your aspiration to deliver the perfect solution?  Does “good enough” sound tempting now?
 

1. You are re-platforming legacy systems

  • The business case is mainly architectural. You need to enable future projects which will deliver increased functionality. 
  • Focus on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and cut out all the requests for enhanced functionality. These can come in future releases.
 

2. You are responding to a customer need that competitors are already meeting

  • Every day you delay, you are losing market share. You need to deliver the new product quickly.
  • If the new product is good enough, you can retain your customers whilst you develop it into the perfect product.
 

3. You are customising COTS software

  • Customisation can be as expensive and time-consuming as bespoke development, and remove lots of the benefits.
  • Accept the COTS software without customisation, and modify your business process to work around it.
 

4. You are developing and releasing iteratively

  • Iteratively developed software should deliver the most valuable functionalities first.
  • Subsequent iterations can improve and progress with each release. Each release will help you understand which developments will have the most value.
 

5. You are not developing a customer-facing application

  • You dictate the business process, and can control how your employees use the application.
  • User experience is important for productivity and morale, so make sure that you do improve the product in future releases.
 

6. Your design phase never seems to turn into construction

  • It is easy to get stuck in design, when you are trying to deliver the perfect product. Causes include a changing business environment, too much unhappy path analysis and complex dependencies
  • Requirements have a 6 month half-life. This means that after 6 months half of your requirements catalogue is out of date and you need to re-do some design work.
 

7. Your programme is tracking red

  • You don’t have a choice. You need to change, and start delivering something quickly. 
 
So you can see that sometimes, “Good enough” is what you need to aim for. BAE Systems FAST IT approach is designed to deliver quick solutions that maximise business value and build confidence. This will give you the solid foundation that you need in order to iterate, develop, and ultimately achieve the perfect solution that your business needs.
top David Compton, Business Analyst
David Compton, Business Analyst, BAE Systems 15 August 2016