How to validate your blockchain project idea by DRAW methodology?
I have been involved with the blockchain industry for 4 years and I have seen how demanding this technology is and how much I still learn each day. There are many good blockchain solutions that show just how powerful the technology can be. However, they serve very specific purposes and work in new and innovative ways, which is not always obvious for businesses. If you want to understand this industry and what impact blockchain has and will have on our life and business, you need not only go in-depth into the blockchain industry but also into traditional IT. Following current business, trends are crucial, too, as it helps you understand the big picture of the whole market. This is where a blockchain consultant who combines the technological knowledge of traditional IT, blockchain, and business is invaluable.
Before you launch your blockchain project, it’s a good idea to check that your project really needs blockchain, and if it does, what type of blockchain platform you need. Most of my clients were aware of the fact that blockchain is an immutable chain of records called ‘blocks’ that contains data. This is why blockchain technology delivers three key vectors: transparency, immutability, and security. However, many Clients don’t realize that there are quite a few blockchain platforms (or simply blockchains) which serve different purposes, have different costs per transaction, and offer different transaction speed (number of transactions per second).
From the hundreds of business meetings I participated in in the past 10 years, I learned how to help my clients translate their business idea to the IT world. Four of these 10 years, spent in blockchain meetings, have taught me that there is still little understanding of business implications of blockchain technology, especially when it comes to adopting it to the existing solution, which can be much more complicated than building something new.
What is blockchain project validation (BPV)?
Blockchain project validation is the process of checking your idea prior to launching. This is like the research and development process during which you want to be sure that blockchain can improve your current business or can help resolve the problem.
BPV can involve many things but the main purpose in the first stage is to run your idea by a blockchain consultant. It should be done before you move on to the next steps, such as running workshops, testing, and releasing the final product.
During each stage, we use many helpful tools to improve mutual understanding. One of such tools is the blockchain decision tree, which can help you determine whether blockchain technology is the right direction for your business.
Additionally, if we decide that blockchain is indeed right for you, we should be asking some more significant questions that are often skipped when the clients become enthusiastic about a new solution. (I will try to answer them in-depth in my next article, so make sure to follow my posts)
- If we don’t implement the blockchain, what are the business risks?
- What value do stakeholders get from using blockchain?
- Do we need to ensure public trust between the stakeholders?
- Who will be participating in the cost of blockchain technology?
Why should I do this project validation thing?
A Good blockchain consultant takes your business idea and shows you how to build a scalable solution while taking into account both technical and business requirements.
Having worked with many blockchain technologies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar, or Hyperledger Fabric, and having spent a lot of time analyzing different clients’ business requirements, I have developed my own method of validating blockchain projects.
I called my method of validating blockchain projects “DRAW”, and I have refined it over the years in such a way that clients can receive not only insightful analysis but also artifacts in the form of a document enabling further work on the project. “DRAW” methodology gives you deep knowledge of blockchain from optimized meetings with a specialist.
In short, it will save you a lot of time and money. This process will tell you if blockchain technology is relevant to your project and if it can help resolve the problem. The “DRAW” methodology consists of four steps:
Discover — This stage of project validation lasts around 1–2 hours. This is usually a meeting (either in person or online) during which the client presents their industry and business model, and describes the problems they want to solve with blockchain technology. This step is crucial in order to understand the project assumptions. The blockchain consultant should receive as much input as possible from the client.
Research — This stage still requires the client’s personal involvement. The purpose of the research is to go in-depth in the project assumptions, know the client’s business model and understand why and how the blockchain can or should resolve the problem. This is also when an overview of existing use cases is prepared for the client in the form of a comprehensive dashboard.
Analysis — At this stage, I meet with the client to present the findings of my research and we go over the comprehensive dashboard and other documents. The key outcome of this stage is a technical document including
- a short introduction to blockchain technology
- a description of the chosen blockchain
- a justification for the use of this particular blockchain
- a high-level architecture
- an explanation of how blockchain technology resolves the problems and impacts the business
- a work-based structure
- a raw estimate
Workshop — The workshop is the final stage of the “DRAW” methodology. Ideally, both the client and key stakeholders in the project participate in this workshop. It’s very much like a test drive before you commit to a purchase, which means that if the client decides to go forward with the development, this stage will be absolutely crucial. The purpose of the workshop is to deliver the final, in-depth, technical, and business document that the client can use as a reference point in discussions with a software house or even with venture capitalists. The document will include:
- a project charter with a description of the project from business and technical point of view
- a high-level of architecture
- user flow diagrams
- user data flow diagrams
- an in-depth work-breakdown structure
- an in-depth cost analysis
- a proposed development team structure
Blockchain, like any new technology, is worth looking into, especially that it is a fuse between AI and IoT. After several years of talking to clients about the ideas and applications of blockchain technology, I find that the level of knowledge and understanding is similar to what it was in the late 1990s about TCP / IP. A lot of people knew what the internet was, but they didn’t know how it was built and how to fully use its potential. Today, it is similar to blockchain; people know more or less what it is, for example, they know that it’s immutable or decentralized, but few people realize what other values it can bring.
We should remember that we have many business use cases and that adoption of blockchain technology can be varied, so you need an expert blockchain consultant to go through your idea and advise if it can be implemented from a technical point of view, and if it makes sense from the business perspective.
If you want to know more about the “DRAW” methodology feel free to reach out to me in the comment section or via a private message.