Business development is never easy, all the more so in the current reality. Companies need to map out strategies and make substantial investments in times where consumer demand changes at a breakneck pace. More so, many business development efforts today are closely connected to implementing digital technologies as part of the process called digital transformation.
All of this is confounding. The technologies in question, like augmented reality and artificial intelligence, are not the new normal yet, demand solid investments, and need to be checked for technical viability to see if they fit in a given operation. Still, every business that wants to last needs to evolve and grow, and steering clear of adopting new technologies puts companies at the risk of becoming non-competitive.
The concept of software and technology workshop was created to help companies face these challenges and evolve in a meaningful way without overspending.
Let’s explore what are software and technology workshops, how they help in performing transforming businesses, what you can expect in the end, and why are they not connected to workshops on software engineering in any way.
What Is a Software & Technology Workshop
A software and technology workshop is a three to four week process where a team of experts analyses your idea for a product or digital transformation/business development effort, helps you shape it, and provides basics like prototype and estimated budget to help you start your project successfully.
These are not software engineering or programming workshops, where enthusiastic developers gather to experiment with development tools, technologies, and frameworks in a casual setting off work.
Workshops help companies with:
- Pinpointing the innovation challenges the company may face in its industry / market
- Selecting the right technology for a business / operation
- Checking an idea for technical viability and identifying its limitations
- Ensuring the end product will fit the target market / enterprise environment
- Hand-picking the right features
- Selecting the right development approach
- Establishing a clear budget, process, and time frame
In a software and technology workshop, you cooperate with a scaled down version of a software development team to crystalize your idea, see if it works, and if it would, make the first solid steps towards bringing it to life.
A typical software and technology workshop team consists of:
- Project manager
- Business analyst
- UI and UX designer
- Solution architect
- Software developer
The collaboration commonly unfolds in the mode of live teamwork and meetings with interviews, where the hired team works with your company’s experts and stakeholders. In most cases, the collaboration also includes on-site work to make the process more efficient.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each step of technology and software workshops.
How Tech & Software Workshops Unfold
Every software and tech workshop needs to have a clear, step-by-step process to achieve an actionable result. Let’s see what are those steps using the Intellectsoft Workshop Model as an example.
- Discovery. The team conducts interviews with stakeholders, performs comprehensive domain research and competitor analysis as well as risk assessment. As technology and software workshops are aimed at clarifying whether your idea would work properly or at all in your enterprise, this is the stage where you will find the answer.
- Product vision. Your company and the team have an understanding of how the product/solution/digital transformation effort would look like and work. At this stage, you and the team prioritize and finalize the feature list and define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Tech analysis. The team maps out the high-level system architecture and identifies the best technology stack and required third-party integrations for your solution.
- Deliverables. Regardless of whether you will continue to cooperate with the hired team after the workshop or not, defining the right project approach and a fitting engagement model, as well as estimating timelines and budget, is part of what you would get at the end of a proper workshop. Knowing the deliverables is almost as crucial to your project as your fully developed idea. For example, picking the right project approach (nearshore, offshore, onshore) and engagement model (project-based, team extension, managed capacity, or other) can help your business optimize or reduce the budget significantly.
What You Get In the End
Each software and tech workshop is tailored to the specifics of a particular idea, but here is the minimum you can demand:
- Prototype (first wireframes, screens)
- Full feature set with technical descriptions
- Feature mappings and user flows
- Estimated budget and delivery timeframe
- Technical documentation
- Competitors research
What Happens Next?
If you need the prototype and deliverables to make an investor pitch, there will obviously be a time gap between the workshop’s end and starting a partnership with a company that would bring your idea to life.
If you are satisfied with the team that was working on the workshop and you want to extend the partnership further into the development phase, the next steps they would take would be:
- Build the required team.
- Create a resource plan. This includes mapping out a full-time equivalent (FTE) plan, team ramp up, and other.
- Ensure a smooth transition to the development stage and, further down the line, product implementation phase.
Workshops are an effective way of ensuring the success of your digital transformation efforts. This mode of cooperation helps you shape up your idea, see how it will work by way of prototyping, and if it does, ensure a smooth transition to its development and deployment.
In no way connected to programming workshops, software and tech workshops give companies a clear picture of how a certain technology or digital transformation effort can improve an operation or become a backbone of an entire business or product.
Most important, software and tech workshops are built on the idea of getting palpable, real-life results instead of doing the guesswork.