No matter the size of your organization—big, small…Huge—everyone encounters process problems. Robert Sfeir, Senior Director of Delivery for Huge, Inc., took the stage at this year’s Owner Summit to speak to common challenges, and share insights to help solve them.

The big idea: How you deliver is the most important factor in the success of what you deliver. Tune into Robert’s session for tips and strategies to help remove process waste, lower project costs and increase margins.

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The Challenge

In his presentation, Robert outlines several key problems and opportunities. As digital shops, we all know how to build digital solutions. We do it over and over again, using repeatable processes. But faced with market commoditization and other pressures, we start fighting ourselves, rather than the competition. We might drop the price of our work, add scope or work harder to get things out the door. In doing so, we tend to reinvent the wheel, miss promises or, worse yet, create a collapse in our own culture through burnout or turnover.


Catch Robert’s keynote “Turboboosting Your Teams” at the Digital PM Summit.

Care More About Process

According to a McKinsey-Oxford study, the average cost overrun on software projects is 66%17% of projects are so bad they threaten the very existence of the company. As Robert says, think about the places in your business where you spend time waiting for things to happen. Those are areas of waste. While we can’t remove all of the waste, we can improve our process for better ROI. Here are a few tips Robert suggests to help:

  • Optimize the Whole: Lean tells us to optimize the whole. Look at everything: RFPs, SOWs, business intake, creative, releases, builds, DevOps, everything

  • Increase Your Feedback Loop: Including clients and aligning teams more frequently removes waste, allowing you to go faster while building the right solutions.

  • Your Team is Not the Problem: Stop focusing on your team first, and focus on the people at the top who are driving the accounts on down.

  • Ruthless Prioritization: Clients come to us because they need help. It’s our responsibility to tell them when—and why—they shouldn’t be doing something. Otherwise, we’re just wasting time and increasing scope.

  • Write Your Process Down: Get your process down, and make sure it’s sustainable.

What You Can Do Right Now

Start with What You Know: You don’t have to upend the way you do everything right now. Start with what you’re already doing, and write it down. How do you do contracts, creative and so on?

Create a Value Stream Analysis of Your Whole Company Processes: A value stream outlines the steps in your process, to identify where you’re creating value and where you’re creating waste. Identify waste, and start removing it.

By identifying and removing waste, you automatically produce more work with the same team. Forget about frameworks and focus on waste. The best process for your business is the one that works. Takeaway: The key is leaner teams. Leaner teams lead to lower project costs and higher margins.*

*A warning, if you go too far, process will kill creativity. Roll things back if creativity begins to suffer.