The CIO at $32 billion Autodesk uses Amazon’s ‘working backwards’ approach to solve a persistent problem with tech projects. Here’s how it works.

  • Amazon uses a “working backwards” system, where engineers and other employees have to write a press release on a final product before beginning development. The goal is to force tech workers to think about the end customer’s needs. 
  • It’s a process that Prakash Kota employs at Autodesk, and it helps determine which potential projects to prioritize. 
  • Kota told the “Modern CTO” podcast that it has helped dramatically cut-down on development time. 
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Amazon is looked to as a model for many things, and it’s production philosophy is no different.

The technique — known as “working backwards” — requires engineers and others to first write a one-page press release outlining the capabilities of a specific product. The goal is to get employees thinking beyond the technical aspects of the project and more into the minds of the end consumer.

The exercise solves an increasingly common problem that often stymies many advanced tech projects: bridging the gap between the desires of the tech team and the needs of the business. And it’s a key reason why Prakash Kota,

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