Sunday, July 24, 2011

Customer driven Vs Business driven projects

There are many different kinds of projects but most of them can be categorised in either customer driven projects or business driven.
In customer driven projects, the investment is judged based on the benefits derived from customer goals. The centre of the project is customer and utmost care is given to the customer needs. In such projects, the requirements from the business can be modified to align with the user stories. The discussions between the stakeholders is also focussed on what customer wants.
As a Business analyst, I have also seen that many customer driven projects are more focussed on the customer experience and hence the requirements are sometimes derived from the customer designs. This means that the customer design is in the driving seat and also might lead to siginficant scope creep based on customer tests.
On the other hand, the business driven projects are judged (read evaluated) based on the benefits derived from business goals. In such projects, the requirements from the business cannot be modified and the discussion is focussed on what business wants. I have noticed that in such projects, tracking requirements to functional specs, to test cases, to user test scripts is very important from a scope perspective.
Although, there is never black and white. All the projects have both customer and business goals. However, for a successful delivery and also from a senior management communication perspective, it is very important to understand the direction of the project before hand. A concious effort should be dedicated to understand as to which goals (customer or business) has more weightage in order to achieve a successful project delivery.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Empire Avenue - The game

Recently, based on the suggestion of a colleague got into a game. It's the Empire Avenue. It allows people to collect their different social networks and assigns value to it. People who like to see numbers, EA is a treat for them.
It also allows you to have your own stock symbol and allows people to trade in you. Imagine, I can buy you (your stock) and you can buy me. Well, it is actually a very different way of connecting. You buy me only if you are interested in me (as in to connect with me) or you buy me because you know that I like been into social networks and hence my stock price will always increase which means I am a good investment.
Another interesting thing it does is indexes. It has different indexes based on people's interest. You could be on a Finance index or a Designer index. It simply depends on what your interest is and guess what, you have an opportunity to become the CEO of the index. As you perform more and more social network activities, your points increase and you rise from a share holder to an employee to a manager, to Sr. manager, Vice president and then the CFO, president and finally CEO.
When Google+ is challenging Facebook, social networks like EA have a good chance to allow people to connect in innovative ways. I am sure if you are a person with presence in different social networks, EA will be something that you will find fun with.
And if you are on EA, do not forget to buy GVW.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Google+ beyond Introductory stage

If we had to apply the product lifecycle to Google+, then it is passing through its Market Introduction stage, mind you, its' not even public yet. You can only get to it through an invite from others. The same strategy was used for gmail.

It is fair to say that for any social network, the introduction stage, growth stage are within a very short span of time. The real test is to remain the maturity stage. Facebook has been able to do it, where myspace failed badly. Innovation is the key, I would say.

Google is known for its innovation and hence we can expect a solid growth stage. 10 million users in the introductory stage was possible only because it is Google, I am sure in another 2 to 3 years, the social networking market landscape will have completely changed.

One thing that Google can really leverage in developing a strong social network is Android. I am sure that the phones will really help Google to have a strong growth stage and possibly a longer maturity stage.

And, believe me, if Google+ remains a bit longer in the maturity stage, then unless Facebook comes up with something totally different, it have a good chance to enter the saturation and decline stage.