When you are in the digital product delivery business, you must decide how to communicate with the business and commit to deliverables on a roadmap. The best scenario for everyone is to accurately estimate the scope of work and deliver against it. Almost impossible in a fast changing business with agile development.
The question then becomes whether to over promise and under deliver, or under promise and over deliver. We’ve consistently been taught to do the latter – it’s the safer and less stressful road.
However, when we over promise, we often end up getting much more done. It’s a truth that if you try to get more done, you often do. It just doesn’t always feel that way. When we over promise, we often miss dates, end up cutting promised scope, and risk burning out the team. That’s why we need to partner with the business to over promise together, with a clear set of expectations.
Together we can decide to overpromise. If the time comes where it is clear we won’t meet all the deliverables in the allotted timeframe, we decide together. Cut lower priority deliverables? Miss the date? Or just reduce the scope on current deliverables?
This is why at DGDean we believe in over promising and almost delivering. Specifically, we believe that in working with the business as a team we can:
Get more done over the short term — Market opportunities may be short-lived, and getting there as quickly as possible is imperative
Get more done over the long term — Provide a realistic view of the team capacity, without burning them out
Get the right things done — Knowing that some things won’t make the launch will help prioritize what’s most important
Launch it and learn from it — Getting leaner product features out more quickly allows for earlier learnings to drive product development
Make mistakes and move on — Not all initiatives are winners, so it’s better not to take too long to find out
The only way to be successful with this approach is to collaborate with the business. To set these expectations and own the process, together. Both business and technology must understand that there needs to be flexibility in the process, that there will be trade offs throughout, and that mistakes will be made. When we agree on this approach the entire team wins, and the business is better positioned for success.