Fast Projects with Sanity Mini-Book
Global Brain, Inc, QRPD

QRPD®: Quality Rapid Product Development
Coaching & Training Companies to Develop Products in Half the Time

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New Mini-Book:
Fast Projects with Sanity
Applying the 3 Secrets of QRPD

Client Success Stories - Oil Company

In the IT department a time-bomb was ticking. The members of the project team for the division's critical data warehouse initiative was 6 months into a 9 month project--and the team was still mired in gathering customer requirements. This project was critical to delivering performance insights to the division's business analysts. With the right information, these analysts would be able to make better pricing decisions that could result in millions of additional dollars in revenue; and pinpoint the sources of customer shipment issues quickly to reduce lost revenue and costs associated with their correction. The prospects were grim for delivering these benefits on time.
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Enter QRPD. Half-way through attending a QRPD workshop at a recent conference, the Director of the group, Terri, commissioned Global Brain to aid her team. "We need QRPD to get us through this project."

The Global Brain team conducted a lessons learned meeting on a recently-completed project; conducted team interviews; took the entire data warehouse team through the 2-day QRPD workshop; and ran a kickoff session for the new project - all in one week! The challenge of the project included a broad-based set of customers, and as with many projects, a huge number of possible features that could have filled a project twice as long.

What the team needed most to get the project back on track, was the power of the QRPD Project Vision process, to help them cut through all the possible requirements and reach a short-list of business-critical features to implement. The project kickoff day was therefore spent conducting a Vision session with the team members and key business representatives. By changing their emphasis from detailed "data, features, and requirements" to the customer-and-benefit driven language of the QRPD Vision, the team was able to narrow in on the 5 Key Success Factors the business users needed more insight on. Then they identified the key data warehouse design elements needed to deliver those insights. Overnight, the project scope became doable- maybe even in the short remaining time on the timeline.

But to make it, the Global Brain team also realized that the team needed the concept of QRPD "chicken tests". The team was undertaking several technical innovations, including bringing in a totally new software package as one element of their system, and had been planning to simply integrate the new software when the time came. Instead, based on QRPD, they devised early tests to determine if that software could deliver on key promises within their design. These chicken tests uncovered some unexpected issues, that the team was able to fix in time, rather than finding out during full integration and "blowing up" too late to recover.

Finally, the team needed a huge culture change in its relationship with the users. In past projects, business users did not get to see (and didn't want to see or use) any of the features until the project was absolutely done, and the system was perfect and ready for official acceptance test. Past projects had been plagued by misunderstandings of customer needs, outright rejection of the delivered system, and huge amounts of late rework. Global Brain led the team through its planning effort to identify an iterative approach to the system development, and key points for bringing in users to play with and critique feature prototypes. They also showed the team and key users how even these early versions could deliver insights, answers, and ultimately extra revenue even before the entire system was polished up and fully deployed.

In the end, through implementing the above key QRPD techniques, the team came within 2 weeks of their original 9-month schedule- even though they adopted QRPD with only 3 months to go and at a time that their goals seemed hopeless! The power of common-sense but high-leverage QRPD techniques was proved when the division's business users got the system they needed, with the most critical features, in the timeframe originally promised.

Because of this phenomenal success, as time went by (two years) and new people came on board, Teri felt it was time to bring Global Brain in again to quickly invigorate new teams with the techniques and benefits of QRPD. Plus she remembered that the QRPD book advised, "Spend 50% of your time with 'outsider' - and 50% of your outsider time with "wackos" (a Tom Peters phrase for people with unique ways for approaching tough problems!) - to keep an objective view of what you're doing and stay open to new approaches and amazing possibilities. ." She picked up the phone! QRPD was quickly deployed with another new r project manager and his team (located in another geographical location!), and the team went on to turn in another very solid, business-critical project performance using QRPD.

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