We recently hosted a webinar where one of our discovery gurus, Damien, talked about recent work we did with a utilities company, and how important being agile and transparent was in the face of a challenging innovation impasse.
The client was struggling to move the project forward due to a raft of issues. But the single biggest hurdle they faced was engaging their people.
You see, John the 25-year veteran was a little tired of repeated attempts at changing the way he worked. They’d failed over and over again. So, he needed a little more convincing that this time the effort was worth it.
And that was just John.
Across the client’s business there were dozens of stakeholders with a vested interest. So, during discovery and through the project lifecycle we made a lot of small adjustments to how we worked with the business, to get the insights we needed and build project momentum. Here’s how we did it.
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Engage the Business
- Don’t work on the project behind closed doors, keep them open and engage everyone from your end users to your developers, and your executives
- Take the time to listen to your end users and learn from what they have to say
- Be flexible in your approach to reaching end users. What works in your discovery plan may not work in the real world.
Give Users a Glimpse of The Future
- Take discovery feedback and tackle the big issues early on. Addressing the tough challenges early is a great way to build credibility fast
- Prototypes can help you demonstrate real progress, and new tools make creating them faster and easier than ever
- Get your end users hands on as early as possible. Not only will it generate interest, you’ll also discover things you might have missed before
Immerse the Team in Your Project
- Forget the traditional client/partner relationship. You’re one team now! Maintain daily contact and open lines of communication to problem solve or make leaps in progress
- Make the most of collaboration tools — especially in 2020. There are plenty of tools to share ideas, chat and meet over video and collaborate
- No one likes surprises on software projects so embrace honesty and keep the everyone fully informed over the journey.
Embrace and Exploit Change
- Doing the hard work in Discovery makes change a lot more manageable further into the project. It’s much easier to make small adjustments than completely change course
- Change is constant, so keep the dialogue flowing. If something isn’t right, make it known early and it can be fixed
- Be open to insights. They’ll appear through the project so be open to adjusting as the project develops.
Hold Hands Through UAT and Go-Live
- It’s not sink or swim. Launch day shouldn’t be stressful, so be flexible with timing. It’s better to launch awesome software a few days late, than launch and troubleshoot for months
- Great software doesn’t need a complex user guide. Reference guides and video tutorials help great UX
- Unite as a team and celebrate success. You’ve earned it!
At the end of the day, a successful project relies on more than the subject matter expertise of the client and the technical skills of a partner. Successful projects break down traditional barriers of the client and partner relationships to work as a single unit — creating complete transparency, sharing of knowledge and enabling honest conversations. The ability to foster such a way of working is the minimum any delivery partner should bring to the table in your next project.
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