Doug Hahn


Failed fast on a point of sale asset app


  • Stakeholder Management
  • Project Management
  • Negotiation
  • Backlog Refinement
  • Problem Solving
  • Requirements Definition


I contained scope to protect the client’s bottom line while managing a technology spike; the app failed fast, saving the company money.

Problem-solving for a sales application

I led a cross-departmental team, including leaders from five distinct departments and a senior engineering group, to build a custom app that had an initial budget of $80k with more allotted if the application increased sales.

The application was intended to allow partners to generate bespoke, print-ready, co-branded materials on-site for their bars, restaurants, and liquor stores from approved marketing resources for each product SKU.

The original scope of this project was around 300 assets; beyond the sheer volume of assets needed, we were not sure how to achieve this goal, as we needed to find or create a browser-based application that could build and preview 300-DPI CMYK color space assets.

Sales and marketing wanted to have all assets upfront; I negotiated a smaller-scope project that focused on the three most impactful assets, with a technology spike for the engineers to figure out how to implement the project and at what cost.

Template tree used by engineers to understand original scope
Template tree used by engineers to understand original scope

I trained and managed a junior developer, who was responsible for building templates using HTML grid layouts and the css @page rule.

I defined the project scope through a work breakdown structure, encompassing the work required to create hundreds of assets. We used this WBS as a negotiation tool to justify the need for a smaller and more manageable scope in two ways: first, it demonstrated that developing all the assets at once would far exceed budget and second, it helped stakeholders agree upon the need for a more reasonable scope.

Diagram for user flow of app
Diagram for user flow of app

Fail Fast

In close collaboration with senior developers, I successfully balanced stakeholder expectations over this short project. I also performed a rigorous quality assurance process on the app, ensuring its effectiveness and reliability for those who used it on-site.

Ultimately, we developed menu inserts that were used by the sales people at local restaurants, however they proved less effective than anticipated. The company’s design department had assets and templates they could use to quickly create branded assets, and it was determined that the on-site templates were not a significant value add and did not justify further development cost. Ultimately the project was closed under the initial budget.

Thanks to collaboration and scope management, I saved the company money by letting this application fail fast.