Working in a large corporation puts things in perspective in terms of processes, procedures and governance. Where are the days of working in ‘startup-mode’, doing cool things on the fly at the cusp of agility? I like to compare it with my love for flying and aviation. Would I have made some different choices before going to study, I might have blogged about a crosswind approach at the runway of Madeira.
Former aspirations aside, the startup/lean way of realising an initiative is something I like to compare with flying a light sport aircraft, being easily manoeuvrable but ineffective for the short distances. The large corporations would resemble a big airbus that’s heavy, less manoeuvrable but effective on long distance and with big impact. Everyone prefers it’s own style and environment of working, but to operate and lift up such a big machine from the ground is pretty cool.
Unfortunately in this big airplane a pilot has to deal with processes, procedures and governance. How does this compare to launching a digital initiative in a large corporation? Can you still be agile? Or are you fighting the sluggish corporation?
The key is to assess the feasibility by looking ahead and estimate the expected lifespan in a complex environment.
1. Is it scalable?
Any digital initiative should be tested for its scalability. The initiative can be groundbreaking, but if there are now ways to scale it to a large organisation, it will end up being a worthless investment that is bound to get stuck along the way. The amount of opportunities the digital world has brought, has enabled a lot of creative people to play around with some very interesting ideas. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many of them end up stranded a long the way as there were too many constraints for a large rollout.
2. Is there governance?
We could also define it as question ‘1a’, as it’s ties in very close with the scalability of an initiative. Are you sure the initiative can be managed throughout hundreds, or thousands of people? Is governance clearly defined, making sure everyone is working on the same objective and knows the risks? A digital initiative can so easily strand because not everyone is on the same bandwagon and people wander off doing their own thing or work on their own little island without seeing the bigger picture. This stands or falls with good change management and a precise adoption plan.
3. What will be the lifespan?
Your typical business case question, will it be worth the investment looking at the projected life span. Especially in large organisations a roll-out can take months, years even. So what will be the projected lifespan of your initiative and will it be worth the investment?
Having all three questions answered with an optimistic projection, your initiative should be feasible to realise in a large organisation. Now you can get in the cockpit to establish processes and procedures to lift that airbus off the ground.