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How to complete an IT project in 90 days

Shubhra Rishi | July 24, 2014
They might not tell you, but your business peers think your department is too slow. Here's how to change that.

That's what happened at Ola Cabs. By the time the company had put out its mobile app, it had already started work on a second feature for the app. Initially, the app was only meant to schedule immediate pick-ups. In the second version, Aggarwal planned for a feature that allowed users to book pick-ups in advance.

In the meanwhile, Ola Cabs had sought feedback and learnt that what customers really wanted was a way to pay via mobile. Although that wasn't a feature that was on Aggarwal's immediate plans, he ensured that he included it in the app's second release--which took 75 days.

For CIOs who want some of that agility and speed, Humble says there are some factors to watch out for. Organizational mindsets, he says can come in the way of speed. Companies, for example, still plan budgets once a year, which isn't conducive to the fast changes they want to introduce at frequent intervals. "Organizations are setup in the wrong way," says Humble. "We have budgets once a year and create big projects at the time. When you plan for a year-long project, from that point on, you have framed the problem in a one year timeframe."

IMPERATIVE: Ensure ROI

Like with anything new, asking people to adopt this quick and agile approach will meet with resistance. One way to win them over is showing them proof that it works, in terms they understand: ROI

Too often though, says Humble, ROI isn't a key criteria when starting off on a project. "Most companies have a small number of projects that they are expected to build, but they don't necessarily produce good ROI," he says, adding that if a project's ROI is lower than 4 percent, CIOs are better off putting their money into a trust.

Whether or not that was part of this plan, the technical underwriting project Agarwal ran at Apollo Munich, got plenty of business bang. The decision to focus on one key aspect of the policy issuance process ensured that Apollo Munich was able to make the most of its busiest season. The project, says Agarwal, ensured that 97 percent of policies can now be issued in three days--compared to 83 percent in three days before the project.

Not every project will give you easy-to-demonstrate metrics. But CIOs can look for other measures that their businesses track. Since its launch, customers have booked over 4,000 Ola cabs a day, on average--across three channels (its contact center, website, and mobile app). "But the mobile app is the fastest growing channel, increasing at the rate of 30-40 percent a month," says Aggarwal. "Customers simply love the application and its repeat use is higher than any other channel."

 

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