We have all experienced “those types of projects” -- the projects that we thought would take no time at all, but that drag on month after month, and that produce an application that does not drive the correct outcomes. Getting caught in long-winded, overly-complicated projects creates divides between those delivering the project (usually IT) and those driving the outcomes (usually the business). This divisive type of project is usually a result of inefficient tools and an ineffective project approach. Every organization has struggled with this.
But there's good news!
Pega takes a different approach. With the launch of the Pega Platform version 8.4 in 2019, we introduced the Pega Express™ delivery approach, which embraces design thinking as mindset for building applications. We believe so strongly in this delivery approach, that we have built prescriptive tools into the Pega Platform to guide all Pega applications to deliver applications in a fast, agile and iterative manner.
The Prepare phase
During the Prepare phase of the Pega Express delivery approach, our aim is to focus on really understanding the three core tenants of the application to help achieve results.
- Microjourneys™ – The small processes that make up the logic and behavior of an application.
- Personas & channels – The people interacting with the application and the various methods through which they interact.
- Data – The information being captured as part of the application, including the location of the information.
The Pega platform prescriptively guides the application builder in creating these three pillars. To begin, we always start with a microjourney to ensure we are building our application “center out." Oftentimes, application logic is built into siloed channels such as web or mobile which causes duplicate work and disparate implementations. This increases the amount of time it takes to build an application while increasing the chances of incorrect or unexpected outcomes. By centrally building our application logic into our microjourneys, we provide a central, unified location to collaborate and iterate on the application behavior. Changes to this logic do not require the rebuilding of channels that take weeks or months. Pega’s visual representation of the application allows for easy collaboration and communication of the application's behavior.
After we have defined the logic of our application through microjourneys, we move on to the personas and channels. In our microjourneys or at the application level, we can define the people and roles we expect to interact with our application. We can also define the channels through which they interact. For example, we may have a loan application where we have several personas such as loan officers, applicants, underwriters, etc… and they may be coming through a variety of different channels such as web, mobile, chatbots, etc… By organizing our personas and channels in this manner, we simplify typically complicated and lengthy tasks such as security and allow the Pega Platform to handle the complexity. Additionally, this method of structuring our application allows us to extend our application to new personas and channels rapidly. A task like creating a mobile channel for an application may traditionally take weeks or even months to complete, can be built in a matter of minutes and hours with all of the expected end-to-end capability.
Finally, we move on to defining the data within our application. Similarly to what we do with personas, we can define our data at the microjourney or application level. The information we will be capturing as part of the application and its microjourneys is critical to understanding how the application fits into our organization’s landscape. The Pega Platform allows application builders to build integrations such as REST integrations in a matter of minutes through easy-to-use, curated experiences that help accelerate this typically complex process. Not to mention we can even simulate our data if we do not know where it lives and replace it in a later iteration to help promote an agile approach to building application data.
Tools are not enough
But the tooling is not enough. As mentioned earlier, the Pega Express delivery approach also provides a delivery framework to successfully build an application. In the industry, we often hear the term “minimal viable product” (aka MVP). At Pega, we recognize that the concept of “viable” is often what drives the division and frustration between stakeholders. We choose to instead focus on “minimal lovable product” (aka MLP). The change may seem minimal (excuse the pun), but is crucial in the mindset of an application and the tool being used to build it. The first release of your application can't just be usable. It also has to be something that your stakeholders want to use.
Once you have created your microjourneys, personas & channels, and data, the Pega Platform allows you to organize the application into MLPs. We even have an estimator tool that sizes out each of your releases to understand a general timeline. By dividing our application into MLPs agreed upon by all stakeholders, we not only create manageable deliverables for each release but also provide clarity into the iterative approach and long-term vision of an application.
It has been incredible to see our clients achieve impressive success after adopting the Pega Express delivery approach and the platform tooling to support it. Clients like the Bavarian Government, who had no previous Pega experience, were able to build and go live with a COVID small business support application in 5 days. A project of this size and complexity may have taken months or much longer with other technologies and approaches. The ability to respond to these types of rapidly changing and critical issues shows just how important an agile, design thinking approach is for modern organizations. Using the Pega Platform, which not only encourages this type of approach with the Pega Express delivery approach but removes the complexity by building in tooling directly in the platform, can make all the difference between success and failure.
Are you participating in our 2021 Pega Community Hackathon? Do you have questions about how to make the most of your application during the Prepare phase of the Pega Express delivery approach? Join us from March 8th to March 15, 2021 for a week-long Ask the Expert event with Anthony Kirkham and Jason Ferguson on Pega Collaboration Center.