Finding Success in Product Delivery | Bsquare Splendid IoT Supper Series

Solving problems to change the way you do business

Welcome to the first course of our Bsquare Splendid IoT Supper series. Just like a meal is more satisfying and enjoyable when there’s a wide selection of unique dishes and guests, an IoT team is a holistic blend of experts from a variety of fields. In this series, you’ll get a taste of the diverse expertise needed to create a successful IoT project from start to finish.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Rik Attrill, Director of Project Management at Bsquare. As a delivery manager, Rik serves as a bridge between the Bsquare team and the customer. He has a long history of guiding the development of embedded solutions for IoT customers.

You can get in touch with experts like Rik now by contacting Bsquare. Or continue reading to learn more about how product management is one of many vital aspects of our operation in this Q&A.

How would you define success in the field of project management?

Rik: In the olden days of delivering software projects, the definition of success would be “Wow! Look, you gave us some requirements and we met those requirements and there are no bugs and it’s all good and you got exactly what you wanted.” But in the product world, that definition has changed. These days, I think success is probably more like: we solved the problem for you.

From my perspective, I think one of the big differences in going from looking after projects and looking after product development, is that we’re no longer looking for that sign-off to say, “yeah we delivered what you wanted. You specified your requirements and we delivered against those.” It feels like, as we’re building a product, it needs to be something that solves a need and that enables a customer to change the way they do business.

“So, if we create a profound business change for one of our customers because they used our product, that is more successful than if they just manage to do something 10 percent faster.”

Today, business impact change is immeasurable. If I’m going to measure success, I wouldn’t be able to measure it on how many bugs or how quickly we got the project signed off. It would be what is the level of change in which we enable the customer to work. So, if we create a profound business change for one of our customers because they used our product, that is more successful than if they just manage to do something 10 percent faster.

What are obstacles to accelerating this success?

Rik: On the technical side, we occasionally run into issues that are not easily solved with existing technology. For instance, we have scalability and performance issues that we must think about upfront. That can impact what we can do then down the line. A customer might come up with a use case that our architecture isn’t perfect for and then we have to re-index databases or redefine the way databases are put together.

The main obstacle we run into, however, is simply a lack of customer feedback. This is often just a natural result of using a less mature product—there’s less time to collect data. In these cases, our team works to create solutions with the information and expertise we have, creating proposed roadmaps based on “Here’s what we think we need to do because it makes most sense to us.”

Ideally, however, we get customer feedback saying, “Here’s what we find valuable.” Not only does it give us greater insight into customer needs, but it allows us to work more closely with them to create a product that better fits their goals.

How do you see the continued innovation in and around embedded software?

Rik: When I was younger, there were lots of disparate systems all kind of working individually. Customers would select a system, like Windows IoT, and any additional solutions would have to be Windows-based. But over time, rather than seeing all the other components of the software as competitors, I think we see more interoperability and I think that seems likely to continue.

It means customers can say: “Well don’t worry, we’re not a closed ecosystem.” Customers can come onto one system and if they need to change certain things or want to interface with something else, that’s not a problem. We can do all that. By allowing that freedom of inter-interaction and the openness of standards and data, customers can further customize their own solutions.

Come to the table with our team

With a full menu of experts, Bsquare serves everything you need for your IoT system software solution. From Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups, our clients appreciate everything our diversely skilled employees cook up.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming Splendid IoT Supper articles featuring guests discussing everything from IoT security to data science. Catch up on past articles today, starting with the series introduction, and feel free to browse the website to learn more about Bsquare as a company and a team.