Which Came First, The Project or The Solution?

By Rand Manasse


There is always a new technology available with the promise to make our business more efficient and more profitable.

Chicken and the Egg

Which was first, the project or the solution?


In other words what was first, the technology or the idea? The chicken or the egg? In my previous blog I wrote about the technology decision is all about making a business decision first and then adding the technology to make it work.  That helps us know that the answer to our question is the project!


I will let someone else answer the chicken and egg question.


When a Good Idea is Doomed for Failure


It is tempting to allow a project idea to be sparked by the discovery of new technology. Technology vendors reach out to business leaders with new opportunities leading from the discovery of new technologies. There is always something new in the market that promises to solve our problems while making our business better and this discovery can prompt a new business project.


Technology vendors will present their out-of-the-box solutions as the next best solution to solve the world’s problems. They will then work with you to learn about your business and will present a solution that fits your company needs. They are truly interested in making business better, but their driving force is to grow their own company. It is a secondary goal to grow the business of their clients.


New technology should excite your team’s vision of what could be!  It should fit into the company’s Hedgehog Concept of doing one thing and doing it well.


How Great Companies Approach Projects and Technology


No matter how a project idea occurs there needs to be a purpose established. This purpose is at the intersection of the three considerations or circles where your Hedgehog concept resides.  Here is the definition of the Hedgehog concept:


1.     What you are passionate about?

2.     What you can best at?

3.     What drives your economic engine?


Every project should be approached through the scope of the Hedgehog Concept. Once your company has built momentum on its flywheel you want to keep going. You want to do things that keep the flywheel spinning while making it go faster and faster over time.


Each project should have a purpose. This purpose should drive the technology decisions. When a project has purpose and goals the technology needed becomes clear. You will now be able to see what exactly is needed to stay within your Hedgehog Concept.


When you have purpose you can approach the technology vendors and discuss solutions. They will likely push back to show you how you can change to fit their solution. Do not give in. If there is a solution that fits your purpose and criteria then great, move ahead with it.


If a solution cannot be found a custom mix may be necessary. In this instance you can use multiple solutions to create something unique for your specific business.


When dealing with technology projects it isn’t important what comes first, the solution or the project. What is important is how you setup the project and how you will achieve its purpose and the goals.


Focus on these items and not on the technology and your business and the project will have the best chance of success.


As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, please contact me at 914.741.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.


To your success!



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