How to Evolve Beyond a One-Dimensional Strategy

How to Evolve Beyond a One-Dimensional Strategy
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In this article we’ll review how companies can evolve beyond a one-dimensional strategy:

  • The pitfalls of a one-dimensional strategy
  • Strategies provide the framework for collaboration
  • Decision-makers are crucial 
  • Strategies create sustainable project flow

One of the most common, yet avoidable mistakes I see when companies decide to embrace technological modernization is launching a project with no overall governing strategy. Technology can deliver alluring business outcomes that would compel any leader trying to move their company forward. When technology modernization is capable of speeding up the timeline of customer acquisition from a year to a few days, leaders eagerly want to get projects on the ground running as soon as possible. Whether the business objective is to increase overall revenue, improve customer retention, increase customer satisfaction or otherwise, the desire to swiftly make changes can lead to starting a project prematurely without the proper preparation to make it sustainable for future projects or collaboration amongst teams. 

Most organizations lack a cohesive strategy, as evident from siloed teams who don’t have instruction or strategic input. Commonly, there either is no formal strategy in place or the strategy is too vague. For example, an organization defines its strategy as moving from “on-prem to a public cloud,” but doesn’t consider more in-depth questions such as what specifically is going to be moved, what they’re going to leverage once they’ve made the move, whether there was going to be app modernization or if the move was just “lift and shift.” This is a one-dimensional strategy, as it is unmeasurable and undefinable enough to connect different departments under one unified understanding. 

Why is a comprehensive strategy so important, and how do you create a strong strategy that is valuable for your projects and team? 

A Framework Provides Grounds for Fluid Collaboration 

A framework provides synergy, expertise, reuse, best practices, and insights. This momentum for a team creates an environment for fluid collaboration. A lack of structure can negatively impact teams, diverting and scattering attention instead of reigning it in under one unified vision. Division in direction leads to time wasted, miscommunication, and no foundation to refer to. Breaking down silos is pointless unless it is going to be replaced by teamwork that channels efforts collectively and efficiently. 

One Governing Body Enables Sustainable Project Flow 

As someone who has overseen hundreds of technology projects in my career, I know some projects can get by with a one-dimensional strategy strategy, but what about the next project? And the one after that? An overall governing strategy builds sustainability that allows all projects to run on the same train tracks, and provides rails for developers and architects to innovate within, without incongruence. This is especially relevant for organizations that produce customized applications at a high volume. The best way to maximize that outcome is through a strategy that governs all projects so all questions are answered for architects ahead of time. This doesn’t impede innovation, it just gives architects and developers an arena for them to play in, collaborate, and innovate.   

Being Decisive is Pivotal 

Input across teams is a strong component of any strategy, but making hard decisions is crucial for any strategy to move forward. There is a risk associated with taking a stand — you could be wrong — but it’s way more important to decide something than to make no decisions and let things languish. Leaders need to lead decisively with discernment. That isn’t to say leaders should become tyrants over projects. Collaboration and input are indispensable, but when the team is faced with hard decisions that need a tiebreaker, a decision-maker is crucial. This is especially true for decisions that are hard to reverse. These decisions need to come from a technical leader who is able to inspire support for others on board with these decisions. 

Strategies are not rigid, but rather evolving, living, breathing entities. As great as it is to have a rulebook, especially since it enables departments to collaborate efficiently together, the rulebook should be evaluated in quarterly intervals and revised as needed. Decision makers recognize healthy strategies require revisiting to vet what is working, what isn’t, and how to modify to move forward. 

Strategies are step one of any project. Without a solid strategy that has buy-in from the team, you’re building a house of cards that is vulnerable to caving in on itself at the first sign of strife. Set the foundation, bring your team together, designate a decision-maker, and create a flow for your projects. Set you and your team up for success with a strategy to maximize the business benefits of technology modernization. Reach out to GAP today to learn how to launch your strategy for your technology modernization projects.