June 12th, 2019 | by Magdalena Bałut

Walking Backwards Method: Is There a Roadmap for Digital Transformation?

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There’s no chance for that. Every company is different, has its own potential, challenges, software, and hardware, machine park, management, products, services, and goals. In order to successfully run a digital transformation or make a single product, IT consulting company should stress that there is no golden rule for achieving it. There are some methods though to simplify the process and make it a success. But first we have to establish one major fact – there is no digital transformation without software.

One of the best attempts on making the roadmap for digital transformation has been made by the World Economic Forum. You can see that there’s a room for digital strategy, business model, enablers and orchestration. There is no room for oil of this machinery – software.

Software is a backbone for transforming companies and preparing them to face modern challenges. Combined with IT consulting, software product development services in a very efficient way to do that. It saves time and money needed to build a team. It has to be preceded by vendor verification. You want to make sure that a company working on your product is reliable, has software engineers that can handle complicated issues, often related to legacy code. Writing code isn’t enough, though. IT consulting services are also important, you want the provider to be an active partner, rather than a simple laborer. You can have the quality of a software outsourcing company, this is how.

Walking backwards for walking forward

Did you know that at Amazon, internal presentations addressing business problems are called ‘working backwards documents’? They start by identifying a proposed solution that could help to improve customer experience. No matter if it’s an improvement of service, broader selection of goods or simply lower price. By going back to basics (when inventing the way goods are sold or the product is made) the company is able to identify the most important factor of improving, that is – customer-centricity. And that’s what should guide your company while going through the digital transformation process. That’s also what should drive a software product development company to help you with that. Why do I need a digital transformation and software projects outsourcing, going hand-to-hand with that? How do I want to communicate my needs as a customer, how should I talk to a vendor? In this article, we will cover it all.

Building blocks for a successful digital transformation

You need a tailored software product solution, we have established that. To get it, let’s take a look at three pillars of this solution:

  • Customer experience. This is the most important factor for any software product development partner. You may think that we work for you and fulfill your business needs. This is true, naturally but on the operational level. On the business level, we work for your end-customer, end-user. What our code and IT services do for your business is that it gives you tools to build, transform or scale it (we’ll talk about it in a moment). Anything your company does (product or service-wise) provides means to solve customer’s problems. Software providers help you with the solution.

You have to understand your customer. That’s why analytics-based segmentation and socially-driven data are the keys. Selling department and predictive marketing can benefit due to new tools for contacting customers and prospects. Use them for communication and growth.

  • Operational processes. Digitization of processes means more internal optimization, higher effectiveness and more opportunities for finding solutions. It also means work enablement – remote work, working on business trips, effective file-swapping and sharing, etc. It also gives management much-needed transparency when it comes to operations. It also creates data-driven opportunities for better decision making.
  • Business model. Digitalization means smoother cooperation between company sites and better employee integration. It gives exposure to company experts and unleashes opportunities to work in cooperation with global digital media outlets. It creates a room to produce strictly digital products and services, as well as a chance to transform an old-fashioned physical business model to digital services. It enables performance analysis and shapes the way management makes decisions on company and product/service future.

Once you will focus on these aspects, everything else will fall into place. Starting with the customer experience and then pulling everything else from that topic it will lead to innovation and optimization.

Fluent cooperation with a software product development company

Software projects outsourcing is a complicated process. It requires knowledge on how to cooperate with a software product development company. Cooperation with a software vendor requires knowledge about process stages, mutual expectations and the ability to work in agile methodology. There is no roadmap for creating one consistent ecosystem of software for the client. Every office and factory brings a new set of factors to the table. Sticking to one strategy or method of writing software is false.

The project team should be familiar with all aspects of the project – goal, scope, approach, deliverables, and milestones. It is crucial to kick off the project efficiently with all things cleared at the beginning, especially while cooperating with a new vendor. Proper project kick-off will enable some scope changes or unforeseen issues in the middle of the project. If the aforementioned aspects are not known at the beginning, all of them should be addressed during the very first meetings with the vendor. Both parties should be on the same page with what they want to achieve and how. The responsibilities should be specified – what is on which side. Software development team should make sure that acceptance criteria, as well as exit criteria, are written down and agreed on. Technological stack, the approach towards testing, and delivery should be also discussed, very often we focus on development part underestimating QA phase, change management delivery to the client, UAT or warranty period. In terms of changes – it is worth to decide on how changes will be managed over the course of the project – Change Management Plan, Change Request form, Change Log should be considered to keep consistency throughout the project and mitigate the risk if it occurs. Moreover, all uncertainties and questions from the vendor’s side should be explained and addressed in the vendor’s language. The transparency here is very important, after such meeting – both sides should share the same picture and understanding of the project in their minds.

You also have to remember about one important thing – company vision is not the same as industry direction. In other words, you can’t expect from your software product development company and IT consulting team that they will always advise direction similar to what’s in the market right now. It absolutely can happen and is true in most cases but not in every case and you must be prepared for that.

Guidelines, not a roadmap

Throughout this article, we showed that there isn’t and shouldn’t be a roadmap for digital transformation. Nonetheless, there is a way to prepare your company, even before the changes start.

Outsourcing og the software product development services can go way smoother if you will:

  • Identify especially vulnerable departments (blind spots). Not every part of your company will require the same amount of work. You know your company best. Make a map of the business and show your partner what parts of the company are underinvested and digitally underdeveloped. Sometimes they can be the most vital or have the ability to make a change and turn the profit when you least expect it. It’s easy to miss a gold nugget
  • Explain what you want to change and how. What are your short and long time goals, what do you expect from your partner? Making a change for change’s sake is not a digital transformation, it’s burning money. Establish clear and ambitious goals for everyone to follow
  • Establish a high-stakes management team and ensure senior management commitment. Someone should be responsible for the change process on your side. People talking with a software product development company and its team should be able to communicate on both business and technical end
  • In cases of internal resistance, start with a lighthouse project. Some shareholders and senior managers can be resistant to new ideas or ways the change is done. Win them over by introducing a lower-caliber project that can increase effectiveness or productivity on a limited scale. That can prove your point and ensure cooperation company-wise
  • Prepare the ground to enable an agile mindset. Not every company works alongside the guidelines of Agile principles. That’s ok but if you want to make an effective and lasting change (cooperating with a software product development company along the way) you may want to get familiar with what’s the most effective approach in which software development works
  • Establish a way to measure progress. Companies often want results but they forget about internal indicators of success. Revenue is not the only important factor. You may find increased job applications interesting – that would suggest the success of overall improved company image. Or maybe it’s a lower number of customers’ complaint. That would mean better product quality due to improved production technology and processes


There is no roadmap for digital transformation but we just gave you a set of practical pointers. With this mini-guide, you will be ready for changes in your organization. CSHARK is a company that can help you in both digital transformation and software product development outsourcing. Contact us for details!

Magdalena Bałut

Head of Delivery at CSHARK

She has an enormous passion for delivering tailored solutions to very demanding customers.