The surprising thing is, most organizational problems can arise even while people are paying close attention. If you see recurring symptoms, and can’t quite pinpoint the source, it might be time to get an outside perspective from a partner you trust.

How to get at the root problem

A recent client, seeking an external and neutral perspective, partnered with BridgeView Consultants. Like many organizations, the leadership saw symptoms of problems but couldn’t quite put a finger on the root issue.  They asked Bridgeview to take a look.

Their organization was growing quickly, and they’d invested a lot of money in product development, only to see productivity and quality gradually diminish. Deadlines were missed, features were launched with bugs, and communication between teams was becoming strained. At the same time, vendor costs were rising as more resources were called upon to deliver the product.

So, what was causing the divide between expectations and delivery? They had hired highly capable teams, engaged with a reliable software development vendor, and provided clear instructions for delivery. But, their teams consistently struggled to deliver a good product on time. What was missing? To answer that questions BridgeView Consultants conducted a full analysis of the business.

Three key factors in every organization

No matter the size, complexity, or structure of an organization, at BridgeView we focus our analysis on three core business factors: People, Process, and Technology.

  • People: What are the current team dynamics? Are there skill gaps in the workforce? An organization may have the latest tech stack and a clear process for delivery, but without the right team productivity can slip.
  • Process: Is there a well detailed processes in place? Are development cycles and timelines clear? You may have incredible team members and the right tools, but without clear processes or development cycles, everything can fall apart. Signs of a poor process include redundant work, missed deadlines, or employees who feel out of place.
  • Technology: Do you have the right technology? Is the technology being used to its full capacity? You can have the right team members, a great working process, and still hit productivity roadblocks because of technology.

Uncovering the hidden issue

In the case of our client, we interviewed every team member to discover their stressors and biggest pain points. We observed team and vendor meetings throughout the entire software development lifecycle and reviewed their agile methods, documentation outputs, and project management application workflows. We also reviewed the client’s technology stack and compared it to industry standards and best practices.

We discovered that our client was working within a technical environment that was well equipped for growth. In other words, their tech stack was modern, even industry-leading. Their architecture was well landscaped, and their development environments provided ample flow of activities and testing.

While the architectural environments were sound, we found that their ability to manage the environments was beginning to decline. The product was growing faster than the teams could support it. Agile methods were also not being managed effectively, creating a disconnect between expectations and delivery.

In the end, we concluded that their underlying problem fell mostly into the “People” and “Process” areas. They had been outsourcing to a development vendor that didn’t share their vision or have the right resources to scale at the same speed as their product roadmap initiatives. Over the years, our client had gradually increased the development budget only to receive diminishing returns from their outside development firm.

These findings enabled us to provide our client with clear recommendations for next steps.

Turning analysis into actionable steps

Even before receiving our final summary analysis, our client began to put some of our findings into practice. They were two steps ahead, which probably explains some of their fast growth in the past few years.

We concluded that their product development would likely improve in both speed and quality, if they hired just a handful of specialized roles in-house rather than outsourcing to vendors. This change should greatly reduce bugs and help them meet important delivery deadlines.

Based on the increasing fees of the development vendor, we projected that hiring specialized in-house developers could potentially save two- to three-million over three to five years.

External analysis can provide clear perspective

Sometimes we’re too close to a problem to see it. With the help of an external perspective, our client now has a clear understanding on the underlying problem. They’ve already begun implementing our recommended changes and this new plan will further fuel their growth.

At BridgeView we help clients gain insights on their people, processes, and technology, and provide direction for the right actions.

Written: February 2023