IT Service Lifecycle – many players one game
People expect mobile and web applications to be easier to understand and more user-friendly. On the other hand, a startup organization or a provider of such a solution has to deal with the increasing complexity of the background IT architecture. I would like to share with you the overview of the IT Service Lifecycle that we have worked out during a recent Industry 4.0 project.
The story began when a US startup contacted us to support them in the execution of a new Internet of Things (IoT) solution. As with startups, the main focus was on the fast delivery of the product prototype in order to get the buy-in from the startup sponsors. Our engineering team was working fast on the User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) concept, implementing the working application prototype of the cloud infrastructure, and understanding the product concept. At the same time, we were selecting and evaluating a technology stack, and working out the initial solution architecture.
This phase, which we call Providing Solution, was finished in 3 months with the prototype presentation in Japan during which the service, deployed to US Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment, was monitoring the machines in both Europe and US, notifying the participants using Norwegian SMS gateway.
Well – that’s what you call the global IT infrastructure :). The stakeholders were impressed, financing was assured and we went on to the next step.
Sell, sell, sell – the client was selling the product from the very beginning, even without the product prototype in place. The sales force was promoting, presenting and getting both commitment and feedback from prospective clients. This feedback was used as an input for the Product Planning and Business Analysis activities with the focus on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP*) version.
The Research and Development (R&D) phase was divided into three months’ product increments, and further on into three weeks’ sprints. Every three weeks the new service version was deployed to the AWS cloud environment, enabling the sales to present it to customers and again generate feedback moderated by a Product Owner. The three months’ planning perspective was used by both S&M and R&D teams to agree on the features to be delivered.
At the same time, the Service Delivery (SD) team was formed, defining and taking over the responsibility for the final service infrastructure, customer support and S&M activities. They became also important stakeholders in the R&D phase, voicing their requirements. The key challenge was to assure the division between the R&D and SD teams, as they focus on different goals. The service went live in the US after 13 months of development. Since then, the Service Delivery team has been focused on the uninterrupted service delivery and customer support. The Research and Development team has continued delivering new services releases every quarter and hot fixes on request.
The following key elements contributed to the success of the project:
- Holistic team approach and collaboration between all program stakeholders
- Focus on MVP product specification and openness to change
- Starting the Research and Development and Service Delivery phases together but separating the responsible teams
- Educating our customer on IT service lifecycle
The infographics below present in detail the phases of the IT Service Lifecycle. Please note that all phases can be executed concurrently.
* A Minimum Viable Product has just those core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more… wikipedia.org