Managing an IoT project can be tricky. Every month, SpinDance talks to one or two organizations who are stuck somewhere on the IoT journey. Some of the scenarios we’ve heard recently include:

  • The project team is struggling to sort through competing vendor claims.
  • The organization isn’t sure how to build a business case or calculate long-term ROI.
  • Their QA process is taking 3x as long as expected, forcing them to rush a inferior product to market.
  • They didn’t plan for essential features like over-the-air updates, and are scrambling to add them to a suboptimal embedded design.
  • Their device analytics are not answering the questions the business /really/ cares about.
  • The outsourced cloud development team is months behind delivering a product, and there is finger pointing between all the various delivery groups.

These are all true stories we’ve seen up close, and unfortunately they aren’t isolated experiences. Cisco recently did a survey that found that 85% of IoT projects are considered business failures at some level. Meanwhile, we continue to consult with project teams that aren’t sure where to turn next.

There’s no reason that a properly-planned project should fail, so this raises the critical question: why are IoT projects so difficult?

Why is IoT so difficult?

There are lots of symptoms that contribute to the difficulty of IoT project management, but we believe there’s one root cause: complexity. Even the most simple IoT products – like a connected lightbulb – can get very complex very quickly, resulting in broken timelines, ballooning budgets, and hacks. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of hands-on-experience from many IoT developers and program managers. Building a mobile app is one thing; building a mobile app to control a cloud-driven smart device is a whole other story.

If you’re an inexperienced IoT project team, you’re not likely to realize just how complex your project is until after you’ve already started developing. Wouldn’t it be great to have the insight of experienced IoT professionals before feeling stumped and frantic? We think so. That’s why we’ve created The IoT Canvas.

The IoT Canvas: Blueprints for IoT Success

SpinDance deeply believes in the future of IoT and its ability to empower humans through better understanding and control of their environment, be that their person, home or business. We are also pragmatic engineers, and understand the long road we have in front of all of us to achieve the promise of IoT. There’s a lot of work to do, not only in producing better IoT frameworks and tools, but also empowering product owners to take charge of the development process.

That’s why we’re proud to introduce our IoT Canvas. It’s a IoT planning tool built around 11 worksheets, and includes a comprehensive guide with detailed instructions. We believe the IoT Canvas is one of the most comprehensive planning guides available to IoT product owners today.

And we’re making it available for free.

What will I find in the IoT Canvas?

Inspired by the popular Lean Canvas, the IoT Canvas distills SpinDance’s years of experience into a easy-to-use package composed of the following worksheets:

  1. IoT Business Plan
  2. End-to-end IoT
  3. Sample Timeline
  4. Risk Assessment
  5. Platform and Component Re-use
  6. Cloud-enabled Product
  7. Hub-enabled Product
  8. Mobile-to-device Product
  9. Device Plan
  10. Cloud Plan
  11. Analytics Pipeline

IoT Worksheets


The kit includes an 18-page guidebook with detailed instructions on how to fill out each worksheet. Each page should take about 20 minutes to complete, providing you with a complete end-to-end strategy for your IoT project. Once complete, your team will be aligned in making more informed decisions, resulting in shorter project timelines and a better overall ROI.

Want to see what they look like up close? The full kit is available for download today. You can download the end-to-end team worksheet by clicking here.

We’re excited to see how you use them! Feel free to drop us an email at, and give us your feedback. And happy planning!

Download our free guide:
Designing, Building, Launching and Supporting Great IoT

If you're involved with bringing a connected smart device to market, this 12-page guide will give you real-world advice on how to launch a successful product. It includes 26 common questions we think every product owner should ask. Topics include:
  • 1Designing the entire lifecycle of your product, from installation to decommissioning.
  • 2Integrating with other products and services.
  • 3Building resiliency into your system to overcome outages and faulty updates.
  • 4Building a robust process for testing your IoT product.
  • 5Much more.

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