Development Diary 5: Plan to Pivot

Development Diary 5: Plan to Pivot

In this installment, I’m going to talk about something that comes up on many projects: the pivot. Every project starts out with one idea that is believed to be set in stone, but what inevitably happens is a customer starts asking for something no one ever conceived (or that was downplayed for one reason or another). For Compliance Clinic, that was data storage.

While first designing Compliance Clinic, I knew there was more to HIPAA compliance than just a simple assessment and the contract between the service provider and the health care organization. Knowing that, I didn’t really want to get into the business of storing arbitrary files (because you never know what someone is going to upload). At the beginning of December, Compliance Clinic went into a soft launch. I was talking with doctor offices about the system and what it could do to help them. I kept getting the same question: "So, I can store all my HIPAA audit documentation on your service?"

It got a little awkward when I needed to correct the perception and tell them that we only created a couple documents and stored these for them. That meant they would still need to store audit information in more than one place. You could see their interest draining right out of them. The more people I talked to, the more this question came up. I had to adjust my plan to meet the needs of the market. This is called a pivot.

When you’re creating a new digital product, these are inevitable. Having a solid foundation your product is built on will determine whether you can pivot quickly and (relatively) easily or if it’s going to be a significant undertaking. I’m happy to announce I was able to pivot with relative ease and Compliance Clinic now allows users up to 1 GB of storage for audit-related documentation (and the risk survey and business associate agreement the platform generates do not count against this quota).

When you’re designing your digital product, are you hearing the same question over and over again? You may want to reconsider the importance of a feature and work with your developers to make some changes.

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