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How to manage the scope of your mobility initiative

Even the most well-conceived mobility initiatives can turn into projects too big to pull off. Don't let the thought of what else is possible distract from your original goal.

For enterprises, part of the appeal of mobility is that it can increase efficiency, but if you go too big with your mobile initiative, you risk wasting time and company resources.

It is important to limit the scope of the project so you're only mobilizing business-essential processes. Don't get caught up saying "Wouldn't it be cool if we could do this too?" instead of focusing on what you are truly trying to accomplish with mobility. It's also critical that organizations decide on a set of reasonable goals for supporting mobile processes and communicate them to all teams involved.

Let's take a look at a few ways to keep your mobility initiative under control.

Communicate with potential users

The first step of a mobile initiative is an obvious one: Decide what type of project you're taking on. A mobility initiative can refer to projects such as developing a specific mobile application or introducing a new enterprise mobility management platform. It could also mean developing governance and standards around deploying and securing applications, or implementing a mobile backend as a service.

It's better to implement something that works and everyone agrees upon than to push too far and come up short.

To figure out what the goals of the initiative are, IT needs to communicate with the workforce or use analytics to determine which tools employees need to do their job more productively. Understanding who your stakeholders are, what roles they play and the expectations they have is key to the success of any initiative. Stakeholders may include business users, developers, architects, security, legal/compliance, suppliers, vendors and service providers. Their needs sometimes overlap, but IT should accept and impart that it might not be able to solve everyone's needs in one fell swoop.

Mobility is horizontal in that it affects employees across different areas of a company. When progressing down any path for a mobility project, it is important to communicate with everyone involved. That will help foster buy-in across the organization, which is critical from a technical perspective; the more users on board, the easier it is for IT to identify potential problems or opportunities to optimize the project.

Keeping an active line of communication is also a good way to manage user expectations and avoid scope creep, which is the tendency for a project to grow larger than originally planned. IT should use those discussions to narrow the focus of the initiative and make sure users know what to expect.

Put the focus on user experience

IT may not want to admit it, but the user is king in the land of mobility. Users dictate the success of new mobile capabilities and they want the same experience at work that they are used to as a consumer. IT needs to make sure it's focusing on user needs: A high-quality user experience translates into productivity.

When it comes to traditional Web or desktop apps, users don't have a choice in the applications they use. When it comes to enterprise mobility, that paradigm is outdated. An organization could spend its resources on a mobile app, only to discover that users prefer not to use it. Similarly, the application might not drive as much production as originally estimated, hurting the return on investment and overall value of deploying the application. Spending the extra time to understand and present an optimal user experience to the mobile user is well worth it in the long run.

All of this is not to say you can't push the limits with your mobility project, but it's better to implement something that works and everyone agrees upon than to push too far and come up short. Don't try to boil the ocean; once the initiative is complete or an application is live, you can use analytics and measurements to add additional scope and projects.

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