Pilot Programs help build a bond between the Client and the Vendor. What are the advantages of running a Pilot Program? Who is benefited the Client or the Vendor? What are the implications?

At CI, we are executing a couple of pilot projects and I felt that this would be an ideal time to jot down my thoughts on pilot programs. I would say that pilot program benefits both the client and the vendor.

Client Perspective

The client cannot be relaxed considering it only as a pilot project. The advantage for the client would be the fact that he gets to review the vendor’s capabilities during the duration of the pilot. Depending upon the satisfaction level he can take a go/no-go decision.

During the pilot, the client needs to put his time and effort to pass on his expertise to the vendor. He also needs to share his documents / source code which essentially cannot be differentiated between the pilot or a normal project. The success of the pilot would also depend upon the efforts of the client.

Vendor Perspective

The Vendor is under pressure to perform as future business from the Client depends upon the success of the Pilot. He ensures that proper processes are set during the initial phase of the project itself which will become the norm for all the projects being executed. For the core development and testing team the term ‘pilot’ does not affect their work standards at all. They always tend to perform what they can in all projects irrespective of whether it is a pilot project or a continuing relationship.

One can argue that for a pilot project, the vendor tends to deploy a team of super performers to impress the client. This is not always the case. The vendor can maybe have 1 or 2 super performers but he cannot pull the performers from the other teams and deploy them in the pilot as this would affect the other teams.

‘Time & Effort’ are the two major factors which decide the success of any pilot program. These would be converted as Opportunity Cost at a later stage depending upon the success of the pilot. This is valid for both the vendor and the client.

Success of relationship, team productivity, vendor capabilities, vendor’s ability to align with Client’s goals / values are all some measures for defining the success of the pilot.

I have just jotted down these points on a high level. Dwelling deep into these points is a long way to go. Next post maybe 🙂