Transitioning Robotics Company to Cloud Computing
Product + Process
Program + Project
KAARTA is a successful, growing, robotics company that was looking to enhance their customers’ experience and create new revenue streams by moving data processing into the cloud. While they had plenty of ideas and roboticists, they were short on resources with the specific skill sets required for this effort.
This organization had already successfully released multiple hardware products into the market, each of which fit different use cases for building fast and accurate 3D pointclouds (datasets of X, Y, Z geometric coordinates) of both indoor and outdoor spaces. However, with data file sizes growing larger and larger (10+ Gigabytes) as the technology advanced, the memory and processing power of the hardware became a bottleneck for the user. The team knew that a Cloud-computing-based solution was the answer, but was spinning their wheels to achieve their goals. The Chief Technology Officer was already at max capacity leading the core software development and therefore didn’t have the time to also lead this effort. They were a year into development, had built a website, but had no true product yet.
We walked this organization through our proven approach to: 1.) Prioritize organizational goals, 2.) Discover process gaps impacting those goals, 3.) Implement project management and product development techniques to close identified gaps, and 4.) Repeat this process to create a loop of continuous improvement. This organization’s technical team was top notch; an outstanding blend of innovators and engineers. All they were missing was some focus and a few additional resources to take their award-winning technology into the Cloud.
The first step was using our Product Charter template to get everyone on the same page and aligned with overall organizational goals. Often overlooked, a product (or project) charter answers important questions that everyone on the team needs to understand and rally around (e.g. Why are we building this product? What are the key features?).
Next, we customized our Product Development Checklist for their particular needs. This template ensures that an organization is completing all of the key tasks and deliverables required for a successful product launch, such as Intellectual Property considerations, supplier selection, market positioning, Beta testing, and a maintenance/service plan. The checklist also assists in building out a product schedule and resource plan, plus assigning clear ownership to each required step. This particular product development plan exposed a shortage of Cloud-based technology and web user interface development expertise necessary to launch the product in the required timeframe.
Next, we led an RFP to select a cloud technology provider. We drafted a request for proposal, review bids, and select a supplier. This is a common issue for startups with limited resources, and we have the experience to help identify and fill these gaps.
Now that the product development team was established we utilized Agile techniques and stood up a Scrum team, with Greenshaw Consulting filling the ScrumMaster role, to perform the day-to-day development work. While some consultants will push Agile on an entire organization, and enforce Agile or other methodologies with a strict adherence to the rules, Greenshaw Consulting understands that startups don’t always have the desire or need to be beholden to a methodology. Every startup has to break the rules sometimes; we are there to work with you to achieve your goals with whatever process works best for you, not just force you into a solution.
A few sprints into the project, some major feature changes emerged. This wasn’t discovered by accident; the team was living by the Agile manifesto statement, “Working software over comprehensive documentation.” By quickly building out and demoing the first few features defined in the product charter to the key stakeholders, more valuable features were uncovered. We worked across stakeholder functional areas (Marketing, Finance, Sales, etc.) to quickly develop a new plan, build consensus, and update the product development checklist. Once the team approved the plan, development was back underway.
in Revenue Streams
in User Base
50% Decrease in Time to Market
The production version of the site was launched on-time and under-budget as a follow-up to the organization’s latest hardware product. The site provided two additional revenue streams; one that added value to their existing user base, and another that opened up a whole new market segment to this organization’s technology.
The work didn’t stop there; we continued to lead the product development team to obtain market feedback from the early adopters and feed it back into the Scrum team to develop new features to support existing users and attract new ones.
It was a pleasure working with Kevin. I and the team really appreciated his work, efforts, and contributions. I look forward to working with Kevin again in the future.
Kevin Dowling, CEO KAARTA
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