How You Become As Valuable As the Technology Around You

With the availability of agile development software, companies are now changing faster than ever. Evolution is taking place at the core of every business with simplification, automation, and powerful software offerings becoming the new standard. Looking at the big picture, we understand exactly what that means for an organization, but the impact is perhaps even more significant for employees.

Yes, the often overlooked factor of any digital transformation is how it affects the people at ground-zero of a company. Many of whom are accustomed to working with now antique processes suddenly need to adapt or become part of the metaphorical furniture. So the question is: “as a business user, how can you play your part in the change instead of being swept away with it?”

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Whether you like it or not, you have to become as innovative (and as valuable) as the technology around you. To do that, there are some simple principles which you can employ in daily routines and solidify your spot as part of the solution, not the problem.

A rushed solution isn’t a solution at all

We all know how the story of any big project goes. Monday morning rolls around where management unveils the next groundbreaking technology which will disrupt the entire market. Everyone’s on board right up until the dreaded deadline is unveiled… you know it’s unrealistic, but teams scramble nonetheless to deliver.

After months of non-stop slogging, delivery date arrives and, oh boy… Not only is the product unfinished, but a rushed testing phase has led to basic functionality being completely missing.

Without thorough testing, you're essentially working in the dark, with no real direction.  Preventing situations like these is all about maximizing your efficiency. Whether that's in the form of daily processes or how you're collaborating with other departments. Any time you save through new systems can be re-invested into proper testing phases with the intended end-users. 

This focus on testing is part of what's called an 'agile development process'. Typically agile strategies form part of software development however the ideas and values are relevant for any business project. Read through our full article on agile strategies if you want to know more. 

Remember: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and even then, I’m pretty sure a building or two collapsed to get it to where it was.

Betty Blocks - Rise of the Citizen Developer

Avoid the sunk cost fallacy

Ever wonder why Coca-Cola cans specify that they’re ‘Original Taste’? Back in 1980, Coca-Cola started losing market share to its biggest competitor, Pepsi. They needed a solution to win back consumers and set about creating a new flavor for their brand… Which shamelessly tasted like Pepsi!

What happened next? Well, the flavor completely failed and was abandoned in just 77 days. This is a fairly clear case of the ‘sunk cost fallacy’ and one that we can all learn from. We’re all guilty of placing value on projects based on how much we’ve invested, either financially or emotionally. As we continue to invest, there’s more pressure to see the project through to the end.

In reality, some of these projects (like the example above) just become sinkholes for our time and effort without delivering anything valuable in the end. The trick is learning to step back and assess whether or not you’re actually going to gain more than you invested. Implement the knowledge you’ve learned throughout your testing phase as well. If people are not responding on a broad level, then maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board?

Failure isn’t always final

Even after testing, prototyping, and going through all the right motions, it’s not always guaranteed that your project will be a success. What you do and how you approach these ‘failed’ projects are defining moments for any problem solver.

We’ve all heard the classic stories of people who simply refused to give up. Einstein, Gates, Ford, and Edison are just a few of the most famous names who really went through quite a lot of failure. Eventually, though, they pulled through because they knew how to approach failure as a new opportunity to learn.

So when something goes wrong, here’s what you need to be asking yourself:

  • What can be salvaged?
  • How can I learn from this?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Are there skills I can learn to make this work?

Failure is an important part of helping us grow and keeps us at least somewhat humble. Avoid putting too much focus on ‘failure prevention’ which will ultimately limit your creativity with a giant list of rules and barriers. Set your sights on success instead but be ready to learn when challenges appear.

Efficiency is the key to success

You may have noticed a common thread in most innovation strategies. Prototyping, testing, and collaboration are critical steps which simply can’t be overlooked to deliver a truly future-proof end-result. Those phases take time which of course can’t be manufactured. As a business user, you need to investigate ways to streamline your own daily processes to give yourself the time needed to strategize and plan your next steps.

Keep your eye out on the blog next week where we’ll be covering some important lessons in time management. Plus some helpful tips for implementing no-code as a time-saving tool for your business.

Betty Blocks - Rise of the Citizen Developer