Survey Land Express is a provider of land survey services and associated products (i.e., boundary mortgage surveys, site plans for builders, elevation certificates for flood insurance, etc.). With a solid foundation of primarily residential land survey services and an annual revenue of @150K, the company vision was to become a marketplace leader in the greater Atlanta (and surrounding counties) area. The end goal was to establish a model or pattern for land surveying that would establish a potential franchising opportunity for the company.
Achieving the market leadership and franchise opportunity vision would mean that Survey Land Express would have to significantly mature its core business process from marketing and sales through final delivery of its land survey products to clients. My role was to provide a variety of business development, project management and SalesForce implementation and consultancy services in support of SLE’s business goals.
Applying formal approaches to solving sales and operational scaling and quality issues was indeed a challenge in this organization where virtually no software automation or documented business processes were in place at the start of my engagement with the business leaders. Ironically, in a business domain where the very service and product line were all about “measurements”, no internal metrics or evaluation of performance (i.e., KPIs) were understood let alone in place. Here are some highlights and lessons learned for small business who want to become big businesses:
- Business Modeling to understand the nature and relationships between each of the core business processes (Marketing, Sales, Property Research, Field Work, CAD, and Survey Delivery) was extremely useful to get both the problems in the “as is” model as well as the opportunities in the “should be” model understood by all key players.
- Agile Project Management, more specifically Scrum project management, practices are extremely appropriate and useful, as compared to more tradition “waterfall” approaches. The “need for speed” in delivery of business process and software solutions demands an iterative and incremental delivery method. The simplicity and light weight nature of Scrum was much more readily adopted than I have ever seen the Rational Unified Process. Sprints of one month were the standard with each delivering a wide variety of business and operational capability enhancements. See example of an SLE Sprint Plan here.
- Requirements Management practices were greatly streamlined to included user stories and a product backlog for both process and cloud software solution requirements.
- Cloud Application Design was completed within the sprints for both QuickBooks and SalesForce to ensure the user stories “done” criteria were truly met.
- Cloud Application Deployments consisted of both the configuration of the cloud applications and any customizations that were needed to address requirements not satisfied by the out of the box software.