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The Knowns and the Unknowns

Contributed by RKVS Raman on 27 Oct 2011


Meeting the customer requirements well within the time-frame and budget, is what we take pride in at Neev Teechnologies. In this endeavor we often classify the projects that we do, into 4 categories, based on the amount of clarity that the customer has of what s/he wants and the technology strength that we have at Neev. This classification helps us prepare for any new project or activity that we take up. Essentially the classification also predicts whether the project could be taken up as a fixed price activity or a T&M one.

The 4 categories can be diagrammatically represented as following.


The Known Unknow Matrix


On X-axis we have the Technology strength that Neev has with respect to the project and on the Y-axis the clarity that the customer has about what s/he wants.

If the customer knows exactly what is required of the product and we know the technology required to develop it. We classify it as ‘Known Known’. This means to say that the customer can be assured of a delivery in an optimized time-line. Since requirements are clear, the project is easily translated into clear specs and design and development iterations are pretty streamlined.

In the second scenario, the customer knows what s/he needs and is able to explain it with utmost clarity but there are certain components in the product that the Neev team has not worked on in any previous projects. This is what we classify as ‘Known Unknown’. These projects provide the technology group at Neev to upfront explore these new areas and prototype the solutions much before the development team needs it. These kind of projects help Neev to expand their horizons, be it, Indian languages support on Android or video streaming or others. Customers are also guaranteed timely delivery since their requirements were spelt out early and we get adequate time to explore and solution. Such customers offer challenge to the technology team at Neev and we love them for that.

A good number of our customers are first time entreprenuers. They have this brilliant idea which they are hugely excited about. Sometimes the excitement about their idea is not well backed up by their market analysis which makes them change requirements at a later stage in the development of the product. This results in rework or introduction of some of the components in the later iterations. Fortunately, 99.9% of the time, we are easily able to accommodate the changes although with some changes in delivery timeline. Good thing about these customers is that, we see the product metamorphosize from an idea to a market ready offering and we love all the learning in the way. They are the “Unknown Knowns”.


And finally we have “Unknown Unknowns”. Though a very very small fraction of our activities, but sometime we do encounter situations where the customer comes up with a requirement very late in the project in a technology area that we are not yet production ready. These projects definitely create delays beyond estimations. But thankfully, the unknowns from our side are rapidly on a decline.

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