What will 2018 bring?
My wife and I always recap the previous year after the holidays. Normally it goes something like this: “Need to lose weight, eat healthier, drink less, be happier and laugh more.” This year it was: “Thank god 2017 is over, what a year! 2018 has to be better than 2017.”
Let’s recap: New city, new job and new president. Lots of unplanned changes in 2017.
We moved from San Francisco to Seattle and where I joined forces at Tahzoo to support west coast businesses particularly with SDL web experiences and content, which meant going back to where I started my career in 2000.
The technology has improved and our world has become more connected. However, the strategy and projects pitfalls have not changed. Similar known unknowns and discussions among project teams. I thought by sharing the questions and our strategy this might help you and your teams.
This question comes up weekly:
How do we start?
Step 1: Navigate the winds of Leadership
Leadership always has several different problems they want solved such as Save Money, Improve User Adoption and Deliver a seamless digital experience to clients and employees.
As most of us do when we love our jobs, we get right in there and start solving problems, jump on the sailboat and navigate the wind shift from our leaders. However, we need to make sure we keep our focus on the problem we are trying to solve. Talk with the leaders, their teams and really understand their pain points.
Step 2: Does the team have the basic knowledge to start the project?
I have seen this over and over again we kick off a technology project and only 5% of the team has any knowledge or awareness of the new technology. It’s doesn’t matter if you are using Agile or Waterfall methodologies, if the team doesn’t have the right level of knowledge then the user stories and business requirements will not be at the right level.
Client: “Oh, but Ms. Consultant that is why we hired you.”
Ms. Consultant: “Yes, I understand, however, how am I going to get user stories at the right level of detail without some level of knowledge? Please teach me and I will teach you. Can you articulate the problem we are trying to solve?”
Step 3: Understand Transformation takes time (if you want to do it right)
Help your clients and partners understand that good things do take time. This doesn’t mean that everything needs to be perfect before you begin. Recently I broke it down into the following 4 buckets following a very common project implementation methodology: Design, Build, Deployment and Hosting/Support. In your projects use this break down and make sure you include client problems in each area.
Step 4: (Repeat over and over again) Keep your eye on the Problem
This week at a client meeting at the largest coffee retailer – we gathered to prepare for a share out the following week, and with every solution we provided as a team we came back to these 5 questions.
1. What is the problem we are solving?
2. How did we address the problem?
3. What did we learn?
4. What didn’t we know that we learned?
5. What are the next steps?
In closing, what I learned is that it may be a new year and technology has come a long way since I started my career. However, the strategies and projects have stayed the same. Which means it’s important to keep your client and your teams in sync – never lose focus on what the problem you and your team are hired to solve is.
Ensure your teams have enough knowledge to understand how to breakdown your implementation and see how this is going to help them solve their problems. Make your client and their teams look like super heroes at work. Remember it’s not what you taught them it is how you made them feel.