Andy Roberts

Head of Commercial and Accounts

Andy is Headforwards Head of Commercial and Accounts. He has worked in many different environments from the military through to a number of challenging corporate roles including CIO and Change Director. Having worked in many industries such as engineering, finance, communications, utilities and insurance, in roles as both customer and supplier he has a greater understanding of how people, teams and organisations operate helping his ability to continuously improve his approach.

Software development is often associated with lengthy discovery phases and long-term projects, and many software companies don’t have the capacity to be able to start straight away. Demand for short term projects with an immediate start is growing.  

Quick Start projects get things moving straight away and are a brilliant way to make progress fast and overcome limitations around team capacity and resource. 

Whether making changes to meet new regulations, or adding additional resource, companies often need a software company that is reactive and available to turn things around with little notice. 

Six benefits of Quick Start projects

1. Make changes quickly

Changes in legislation often require immediate action to ensure compliance. Suddenly, an organisation finds that their software or system doesn’t meet the required regulation anymore and they have three months to make sure it does. Finding a company that can make the change immediately can be difficult. A software company that offers Quick Start can ensure that a regulatory body (or similar) working to a hard deadline doesn’t have to pause operations while they wait for their software or systems to be updated.  

2. Make things happen

It’s much easier to get £20,000 signed off for a small-scale project, than £700,000 for an extensive digital transformation. Quick Start projects are usually focused on small changes with immediate results; they can be a great way to take small steps towards a larger transformation and make progress, rather than putting everything on hold until one huge project is signed off.  

3. Test the water

Quick Start can be a useful way to establish whether two organisations can work together. Without prior experience of working with a specific software company, signing on the dotted line for a five-year digital transformation project is likely to feel like a risk to the business. By starting small with a two-week, or month-long fixed cost project, both parties can establish a relationship and decide whether a long-term project is likely to work. The Quick Start project might not result in a completed piece of work, but it’s usually something the organisation wants that will add value to it. By completing the work – perhaps a proof of concept or small interation, the software company can demonstrate that it has the skills to take on a larger project.  

4. Get value, quicker

The sooner you start, the sooner you get value from your investment. If you approach a software company in January with a proposal for a six-month project, and it can’t start for six months, you won’t see any results until the following year. If it can start straight away, you get six months of benefit. Put in monetary terms, if the tech build will save you £1m per year, you’ll be up £500k if things can get going straight away. If delayed, you won’t see the value in the same financial year. 

5. Remove barriers to innovation

In many cases, the longer the length of the project, the bigger the risk; typically, the more risk there is, the more innovation is suppressed. Fear of the unknown can mean research processes are rushed and projects are under-resourced. Quick Start/short term tests remove some of the barriers to innovation and deliver results quickly.  

6. Fail fast 

In today’s complex business environment, where things are changing constantly, speed of execution is a lot more important than perfect execution. Forbes 

Projects stretching over many months often have to change direction because the external situation has changed, watering down the relevance of the solution or product. Quick Start projects ensure a timely response to the current situation, and deliver results – positive or negative, in a short space of time. If something doesn’t work as you thought it should over the course of a two-week project, it’s a lot less damaging to your organisation than if you were finding out after two years.  

Burst capacity and team resource 

Quick Start isn’t just about being able to start a project. Organisations often need help to add team resource or capability at short notice.    

There are benefits to starting early with a small team, getting everything prepared, ready for when the rest of the team is able to start. A software company can provide these initial team members, so that things can get moving.  

Sometimes, lack of internal capability means putting a team in isn’t the answer, so a Product Owner/Analyst-type role may be offered to get everything set up whilst the team is being brought in. 

If the project is already underway but the inhouse team can’t complete the build in time, or the quality is not good enough, additional team members from a software company may be brought in at short notice, with an Agile approach to ensure the integration of new people is smooth.  

In a changing world where business conditions have become unstable, Quick Start can add value and help organisations see returns on their investments sooner. 

Don’t let capacity and capability become a barrier. Book a free call to find out how to quickstart your project with Headforwards.

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