One year to go in the U-QASAR project, and the U-QASAR team visited Brussels for the last Review Meeting at the European Commission before the final report. The importance of this meeting cannot be overstated, and the preparations started some time before with the Innopole team coordinating all the reports and deliverables from the rest of the partners. At the meeting, a panel of three experts evaluated the progress made since the last Review Meeting, one year ago. In a project like ours, with eight partners and quite a few deliverables, we scheduled about 24 presentations to summarise what has been done and what will be done… quite a bit of slide-ware! This resulted in filling up the day for the review, and being demanding both for the team and the reviewers. Thus, before the meeting, a pre-meeting was conducted to rehearse and polish the presentations to be given, in order to make them more palatable.
Reviews are important per se, but it is now that U-QASAR ramps up the development of the QA platform, that the feedback from the reviewers will help us see the bigger picture and perform a reality check. From the inside, progress may look rosy, but external eyes will quickly identify challenges not yet considered by the team. The reviewer panel is really expert, a big advantage when you have done your work, as then, they will focus on improving it, by giving valuable comments. One big take away is the ambitious scope of the project and some adjustments to re-scale it. In any case, we are in track to present an impressive working prototype next year, and, who knows, we may start raising funds at next years’ Slush conference to bring it to the market.
In that regard, to have a proper business plan at the end of the project we have been guided by Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation book, which takes a customer centric approach to define all the relevant parts of the business model. After the review meeting we have been made aware that Osterwalder’s, while excellent, can also be complemented with a more lean and agile approach, such as the lean canvas model. We are looking forward to applying leaner methodologies with all the team. Meanwhile we can start reading articles like Ash Maurya’s Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?
Another big takeaway from the meeting was the opportunity to meet the other partners, who came from all corners in Europe to attend the meeting. From their faces, you can see the review meeting was successful.