"We have taken a huge leap forward"
"It was about ten years ago when I delivered the results of a six months' project, a 500-page specifications document for a new internet-based transfer system. When I now see how our company creates new online services and develops the existing ones, I have to admit that I'm baffled by the change in our procedures. Now, the specs documents weighing the same as telephone directories just make you giggle at the nostalgia of it all,” says Alma Mediapartners Oy's Managing Director Riikka Wulff.
I suppose we could have used some common sense even then but it just never crossed our minds, and we really did not have the means to do it in any other way with the tools we had at the time. As buyers, we wanted our subcontractors to deliver safe projects at a fixed price and, consequently, they demanded that we provide them with exact specifications.
We used to have specifications reviews, revisions and freezes. If there were any conflicts, we dug up a freeze and attempted to fix the bugs. Were the specs not read or understood properly - or were they badly written? Or was something actually missing? This was not very helpful, and it certainly was not particularly constructive.
Now we learn by doing. We aim to launch the first version of the new product or feature as quickly as possible; we then consider if there is demand for it and move forward as fast as we can. Instead of focusing on overly detailed specifications, we spend time on considering whether we are trying to solve a real problem or whether we have a problem that is actually worth solving. This process, of course, involves the entire team.