It seems that it is high time for methodological changes regarding software development. In the last few years we have been able to observe the constant waning of quality in associated activities, a phenomenon determined by communication failure among business consultants, software developers, and users; and this happens in a world of “boundless” communication.
Thus, a number of “crises” emerge: over 70 % of overall projects fail (explicitly or implicitly); organizations exhaust their human resources and thus 70% of the hired personnel in complex projects subsequently leaves the organization due to stress and burnout; companies declare budgets that exceed 80% of initial estimation; and over 50% of project managers’ time is allocated to in-house conflict resolution. Inefficiency has become more and more obvious in the last few years, and, without a doubt, it is a growing phenomenon.
A change is needed, thoroughly adapted to our current reality. AXIOBIT proposes an approach based on integrative knowledge and comprehension of context in which efficiency can be established.
Development and implementation processes, associated to business software solutions, should administer with acumen and attention two areas of unhappiness: the area of business analysis and that of software development. The real interaction (not a glossed over one) among participants has dramatics and suspense. Just like in a Tarantino movie, this does not entail positive or negative characters, just a group of “peculiar guys,” in a useless, aggressive and noisy competition. In fact, the end goal and initial decisions are forgotten most of the times. It is a competition for the “truth” that nobody knows. It is a continuous debate between expectations, results, and time
Projects fail (between 65%-70% of total according to various statisticians) because the business client often misunderstands the demands and choses solutions that are wrong for the priorities of the company.At the same time, the users cannot define innovation elements, and the implementer takes this imperfect situation in his area of ignorance. Even more so, the software developer is professionally constrained by his own biases and previous experiences. S/he does not know what s/he wants, s/he merely interprets ambiguity.
The behavior of participant actors to these types of projects are considered somewhat normal, even if they produce immense financial losses for companies and developers. On the other hand, these discontinuities in comprehension and communication frustrate and exhaust the participants in the process. Organizations“burn out.” Companies declare that over 70% of employees who participate in complex software projects either leave the organization or internally migrate to other departments, primarily due to lack of motivation and exhaustion.
There are two motives that contribute to this situation:
- The disregard of “the knowledge funnel” steps.
- The disregard of structural changes of the human brain, as unique instruments of reality interpretation.
THE KNOWLEDGE FUNNEL
It is a relatively new concept, which logically establishes the steps of any innovative action. The steps associated to the “funnel” areas are:
- Mystery: objects (knowledge sequences) are decoupled and isolated.
- Heuristics: some object start having logical connections, being able to be quasi-correctly grouped in models.
- Algorithm: all objects can be logically connected in repetitive fluxes.
All participants exclude the mystery and heuristics from the logical construction of the application. Not even consultants can clarify these steps, as they switch directly to an imperfect description of the algorithm. In these conditions, the algorithm is not an innovative and consultative interpretation of a business situation any longer. It is merely a quasi-intellectual narrative that nobody owns up to.
THE STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN BRAIN.
In 2010 Nicholas Carr, a renowned business scholar, launched the book The Shallows, in which he established a “frightening” hypothesis (or so did a collaborator of mine believe). Carr claims that the internet modified the physical structure of human brain, as well as the logical interpretation of reality. While Carr proposes this discussion in the era of the internet, this is nothing new. Aristotle once said that “the world has not changed, it does not change, and will never change; the only thing that changes is the eye that sees the world.” Actually Aristotle observed a long time ago that change takes place strictly at the level of perception; namely, it takes place in the area of the human brain functions.Brains can transform and this transformation enters the area of the human being’s normal evolution.
And still, we observe the consequences of this transformation on a daily basis:
- People cannot read long and complex texts any longer.
- The functioning illiteracy is an actual phenomenon that keeps expanding.
- There is a growing interest for imagery, animation, or film as opposed to texts.
Therefore, over 90% of the population prefers screen watching over book reading. This phenomenon validates the theory of the physical modification of brain due to the internet. People prefer visuals because the attention span towards a text is less than 10 seconds. In this context, the use of traditional (conventional)methods in innovation management is a flawed approach, which often leads to failure, to the “burning out” of human resources, and to artificial growing of costs.
Innovation, which can be associated with creation and implementation of a business software application, transformations of processes and rules, automation, or the introduction of a new technology is, in principle, a dramatic process. American business scholar and consultant Clayton Christensen argues that innovation cannot happen internally. Communication is responsible for this perpetual failure.More specifically, the form of communication that is exclusively structured on text and only sporadically on imagery is, without a doubt, the flawed option.
Axiobit proposes a fully visual and interactive process of analysis and business consultancy. The concept has three elements of action: (1) the prototype, (2) the map and (2) the creation of a culture of innovation around each project by innovation as a service. The exclusion of ambiguities creates efficiency. Visual interpretation of innovation and of business necessities via prototyping creates the premises of happiness for all actors involved, whether they are managers, users, implementers, or observers (together with their families and friends).