February, 2018

Success begins with listening

Software projects always turn out best if those involved really listen to one another. Read how success can already be programmed before the first line of coding is even written!

 As we visit Nicolas Jene at e-sphere’s headquarters in Zürich’s Hardturmstrasse, he immediately makes us feel welcome. He kindly asks us to take a seat. He then looks at us expectantly – and allows us to utter the first word. That may be an unusual approach for some people, but at e-sphere it is part of the corporate culture: Listen. And find out how your business partner operates and what makes them tick. Recognise their wishes and expectations. And only then develop the right solutions.  

“For us listening is always the first stage of a software development process,” explains Nicolas. “Before we even think about writing the first line of coding, we first execute the story mapping phase for every project – together with the customer.” That was how things proceeded with Beat Steinegger too, one of the managing directors at evidentia.med gmbh.

The vision: “To reshape worldwide medical education” 

Beat had ambitious plans and was looking for a partner to develop a global education platform for neurologists. He was well aware of the major challenges that lay ahead: “The requirements for digital products are becoming more and more complex. […] Nowadays you need much more than a simple website; multichannel and other buzzwords require a comprehensive strategy if a company wants to ‘go digital’. The following applies here too: It is the customer, and not the company, who decides on the channels.”1

The implementation: Start with brainstorming, then the story, and finally the e-business solution

The advantages of having a story mapping phase quickly became apparent after initial talks were conducted with e-sphere: Together we quickly managed to work out the key data for a state-of-the-art portal – with clear boundaries for the scope, development costs and expenditure of time defined. e-sphere was not afraid to often say “no” to the immediate implementation of new ideas during this phase. The initial aim was simply to create a functional basic platform that could be enhanced and expanded at any time in the future if required.

For the most part, e-sphere was given free rein to act independently during the software development phase. Only in the test phase and during final approval was evidentia.med required to invest a little more time. By listening closely and being able to read “between the lines”, the e-sphere specialists got a good idea of what the customer wanted and needed.

Everyone was happy with the final outcome. The defined “minimum viable product” was implemented on schedule and without cost overruns: The knowledge platform prdportal.org for the worldwide education of neurologists was successfully launched online. Both evidentia.med gmbh and e-sphere broke new ground in many respects during the project. Listening is always a good basis for driving innovative concepts forward in a mature manner.


 1) Beat Steinegger, Gemeinsam stark. Listening as an aspect of successful cooperation. produkt kultur magazin, Q4 2017, P. 56f

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