At 2008 when I was working at Eficode as a project manager, our new customer had an important system delivery coming up which consisted of hardware and software. The system was a large environmental data observation system which included a user interface for the gathered data. Our project team was responsible for the development of the user interface application.
The delivery had a fixed date and a fixed functionality. The customer’s plan was to assemble the user interface using a newly built platform. I happened to be familiar with the platform. When I received the requirements list for the assembly, I realized that the platform serves only partially for the requirements and a great deal of features must be custom-built. There had been incomplete information about the platform. Building everything would require much more time than we had.
We figured out there was a much more suitable and reliable technology choice than the chosen platform. We knew that the customer wants a long-term technology solution so we decided we will have to propose it to them. It would add extra pressure to the situation because changing the technology would mean it would all have to be built from the scratch. Proposing an unsustainable technology choice could also have meant trouble to both the customer and us.
I explained the situation to the customer. It was unwelcome news because the delivery was business critical and the deadline was drawing near. I listened carefully to the worries of the customer and tried to get a hold of their point of view. We sat down several times going through possibilities as to how we could resolve the problem. I suggested different ways of coming up with partial deliveries, with the most important features being delivered first. We iterated the prioritization models together and eventually came up with a sequential delivery model. Mind you, software delivery in parts was not a prevailing practice in this particular industry.
The customer bought our ideas and decided to go along our suggested lines. We built most of the features from the scratch, using the new technology and we delivered approximately on schedule, in three sequential deliveries. Eventually, no big harm was done, the technology worked, the application worked and we had a feeling of having succeeded together with the customer. The customer account continued to grow to be our second largest.