The Myth of the Bleeding Edge

Implementing executive strategy can require projects for which there are few precedents and definitely no "Dummies Guides" or "How to" books.

Some projects consist of following a path that is well-worn and supported by best practices. These projects usually appear to organizations that are risk averse. Unfortunately, leading edge technology initiatives are almost synonymous with problems and failure. “Bleeding edge” is the universally understood code word for new technology projects that are expected to be wrought with problems and avoided like the plague.

These misconceptions do not hold up to analysis:

  • First, avoiding the leading edge is simply not an option. A host of executive goals for the business are tied to technologies that are changing very rapidly. Steering clear of new technology creates an untenable advantage for competitors in the commercial world and a lack of service for stakeholders in the public sector.
  • Second, the sad truth is that 70% or more of all technology initiatives struggle and are described as resulting in some level of failure. Introducing new technology brings in a different set of factors to manage, and a pretty acceptable scapegoat when things go wrong. New technology, when managed properly, raises the fitness of the entire project to where it needs to be to succeed.

Ultimately, project success is all about people, process, and the management of risk. New technology will require additional testing; older technology will provide its own set of challenges and workarounds. Technology is relevant to how the project is managed, not the project’s likelihood of success.

The Contelligence Group specializes in projects that pioneer new technology and business processes. Our record of successful “firsts” is impressive and spans very large projects, complex products, and game-changing industry standards. The key to this success is expertise in mitigating risk when the path to a solution must be discovered, not followed.