The Appian Delivery Methodology Part IV

Part I: Initiate    Part II: Build    Part III: Release    Part IV: Optimize


Your application is released and is delivering value for end users. However, there's still some critical next steps to ensure your application continues to make an accelerated impact.

The goals of the Optimize phase are:

  • Sustain & enhance - set up application support and stakeholder feedback mechanisms that ensure the application remains healthy and is continually improved with the evolving business needs.
  • Measure impact & communicate success - capture value created by the new application and communicate its impact to key stakeholders.

Sustain and Enhance

Successfully launched applications won’t stay successful for long without a well thought-out strategy for support and continued improvement. Support strategies depend on clear delineation and accountability and the use of effective monitoring tools like the Appian Health Check to reduce the likelihood of application incidents before they arise.

Enable Effective Application Support

To be ready for issues as they arise, organize a multi-tiered support team with delegated responsibilities. It’s not the only way to support an Appian application but it’s effective because different issues will require different skill sets for resolution.

Use Health Check Regularly

Health Check is a platform utility that can be run to provide transparency into application design, usage, and risks. This utility can be scheduled to automatically collect the information it needs and perform the analysis. Users can explore the Health Check analysis findings via the Insights site on community. There, detailed findings are organized into four areas of your environment: Design, User Experience, Infrastructure and Configuration.

Key Benefits to Health Check

  • Reduce overall risk.
  • Flag best practice violations.
  • Reduce unplanned outages.
  • Identify developer skill gaps.

How frequently should you run the Health Check?

Collect Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Your business is constantly evolving, as are the needs of your application’s end-users. Business rules, data fields, and processes which made sense when the application was originally designed may become obsolete, and application features may become limitations that users must work around. Fortunately, you can easily keep Appian applications in tune with user needs.

Routinely Collect feedback from the end user community with:

  1. Role based surveys
  2. Focus groups with daily or power users
  3. Pattern analysis of support tickets

Measure Impact and Communicate Success

Business value measures, defined and documented during the Initiate phase, aren’t just defined in order to ‘justify’ the budget for a new product. They should be living concepts that are revisited and validated throughout the development lifecycle and, as noted in the Build stage, used to prioritize the development backlog and make mid-course tradeoffs and corrections.

Once the application is launched, it’s time to revisit these measures to use them as a foundation for capturing the actual business value delivered by your new application. Remember, most Appian applications deliver value through inflecting one or more of the following business value categories:

  • Reducing costs 
  • Reducing risks 
  • Improving customer experience 
  • Enabling new products or services 

Each one of these can be quantified as a business value measurement. Once you’ve identified the core value measures for your application, and your Application is now launched, it’s time to measure the benefits actually achieved.


You can’t measure the impact of your new application if you don’t know how the targeted business capabilities you’re seeking to improve are performing in the first place. Part of the application launch process should be devoted to capturing and recording foundational performance measures associated with the systems or workflows your new application will impact.

BulbKey Insight: Use ‘Good Enough’ estimations wherever possible.

Sometimes, baselining critical KPIs can be challenging when legacy processes are highly manual and performance is difficult to measure. However, when it comes to baselining, detailed performance measurement isn’t needed. Instead, validated estimations of current performance are sufficient to allow a general view on the performance impact of a new application. Quite often, SME interviews and estimation exercises are sufficient.

Measure Impact

After your application is launched, most teams monitor application performance measures like uptime, latency and overall end user adoption and satisfaction. While all worthy measures, application performance is not the same as application impact.

Use your business value measures, combined with your initial business capability performance baseline to calculate the estimated business impact of the application.

Communicate Impact

Don’t forget: sometimes communicating value is just as important as creating it. Use an impact dashboard or value capture document to track the benefits yielded by your application to date. Key value indicators (e.g improve inventory turns, $ value of staff hours saved) can be tailored based on the interests of your target audience (e.g. Finance executives, IT leaders, etc.).

Profiles in Excellence

There’s no better way to learn than by example. See how IT teams here at Appian use the Appian Delivery Methodology to Optimize their applications and deliver value at an increased velocity.

Empowering Developers Across the CI/CD Pipeline at Appian

During the first half of 2022, the Appian IT teams substantially increased their development and delivery velocity to meet growing project demand from lines of business. They identified manual processes, handoffs, and repetitive tasks within the Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline that were limiting their ability to accelerate, including steps and reviews to promote applications across environments.

Read the full story here.