Select the Right Project

Skills Covered

This guide teaches you how to prioritize project opportunities and match them with the best fitting technology solutions.

Skills Checklist:

  • Identify measures of success for your first Appian Project.  
  • Learn how to utilize the Appian Project Prioritization Matrix. 
  • Leverage the Appian Fit Assessment Tool to match your project with the most appropriate technology.

Choose your first Project

Great project opportunities fail when poorly matched to technology platform capabilities. You have to align the most appropriate technology and way of working based on that project. Having a defined approach to project selection and prioritization will help you consistently select high-value projects and deliver them on-time. While project selection is always important to get right, there are special factors to consider for your first project.

Organizations frequently mistake a new tool or platform as an immediate panacea for an evergreen problem. However, this leads to overly ambitious goals, a never ending project, and frustration. With a more focused and tightly scoped first project, you can provide evidence that newer, better ways of working are possible and simultaneously generate momentum for future projects.

As such, you’ll want to carefully consider your first project. Successful first projects deliver results that are:

  • Quick, with a short time-to-impact 
  • Measurable, giving leaders confidence to approve further projects
  • Contagious, with a compelling solution triggering rapid user adoption

Look for an opportunity that has a clear value proposition, aligns well with platform capabilities and has high potential for rapid scaling. The Prioritization Matrix below helps you map the potential business impact against the ease of execution of your project.

The top-right quadrant represents the most fertile ground for a first project. These quick wins give your organization the buy-in and skills to address “Worthy Efforts”- projects that have meaningful benefits, but hold greater execution challenges.

Your first project is not only an opportunity to prove success, but also to learn and build credibility. These use cases most often fit into the Quick Win category of the Prioritization Matrix, and have worked exceptionally well for Appian customers. It is not exhaustive, but can help with the brainstorming process.

  • Quick, with a short time-to-impact reducing the likelihood of losing momentum
  • Measurable, giving leaders confidence to approve further projects
  • Contagious, with a compelling solution triggering rapid user adoption

Creating a formalized prioritization matrix or framework can help alignment in the project selection process.

Another tool to help prioritize projects is rapid prototyping. This enables you to quickly test and validate potential application ideas. With a low-code platform, you can create mini-demos to help partners visualize the future at very low cost in a short amount of time. This innovation through iteration process, even very early in the idea generation, improves the quality of opportunities identified.

Appian Fit Assessment Tool

With your project in mind, seek to find the best-fit technology match for the needs of the opportunity at hand. At this step, many organizations jump directly to development, often using their favorite heritage tool, defaulting to custom code creation or caving to business pressure to use the hot tool of the moment.

The consequences of this approach can be costly. Teams may have to restart a project with a more appropriate tool, the application itself may need to be modified to fit the needs of the tool, or worst yet the resulting application turns out to be misaligned with what stakeholders expected.

To avoid such outcomes, it’s critical to match the needs of the project to the most appropriate technology before development starts. For Appian, that means making sure business processes can benefit from the Appian platform’s core strengths.

Appian Fit Assessment Tool

The Appian Fit Assessment Tool helps assess whether Appian aligns with your application requirements. The tool is lightweight and easy to use, while also being customizable to your organization’s specific risk profile, data requirements and more.

Here are some project factors the Fit Assessment Tool takes into account:

  • Deliver functionality rapidly
  • Automate complex business processes
  • Support business processes that cut across organizational groups or teams
  • Create unified user experience across systems
  • Enable target users to access multiple systems
  • Transfer data to or from legacy systems
  • Integrate pre-built or custom-built AI services
  • Engage or inform multiple stakeholders across workflows
  • Perform mobile data entry (inclusive of review and approval)

BulbKnowledge in Action

A large US financial services firm added a custom criteria of ‘license utilization’ to the Appian Fit Assessment Tool. This custom metric enabled the firm to locate new and pre-existing Appian teams within their organization, allowing them to weigh the adoption cost savings for using Appian on their proposed project.

Profiles in Appian Excellence

The best way to begin thinking about selecting your first (or next) Appian project is by taking inspiration from previous successful implementations. Below is a profile in Appian Excellence to illustrate how to apply the concepts covered in this guide:

Project Selection & Scoping at the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) has been an Appian customer since 2015 and has three development teams across their organization. In this interview, USF’s Senior Director of Digital Transformation and Innovation, Alice Wei, reflects on her Appian project experience and shares lessons learned from her team’s Appian journey.

Read the full story here.