June 15, 2017
Missed The Secret to Sitecore Delivery Excellence: Part 1? Dive in now!
Plan, Strategically. You've got to kick-things off on the right foot. People, purpose and platform will help you get there.
At Verndale, our projects start with immersion. To get to know you. To get to know your business and what's driven your success. To understand your content and your customers. So, we can feel what the motivation for the project is (or was). We do some of this during the sales process, but the people who are going to do the work need to hear it.
We seek time in-person to spearhead the projects, and typically our sessions kickoff for a few days to really hone in on the objectives. Introducing teams, understanding working styles and setting the boundaries for project success is key. Often, it's missed. Emails flying around, meetings overbooking the immersion time. Someone taking off for the airport to just barely make that flight. They're all necessary distractions, but ultimately take-away from why we're there. Give us your time, and we'll give you what was sold, and more.
Sure, like many others out there we like to learn about key metrics, visual guidelines and what's currently working well during immersion. But we also like to explore less popular (but necessary) topics. We'd argue they drive success or to complete failure. How does your organization work? What does change management look like for your teams across the globe? Do you have the right folks identified to make decisions as you need them made rapidly? The process we like to follow mimics agile as much as you (and we) will allow. We don't like delays, but we know they happen. Get that buy-in early and often by keeping people informed. Weekly status calls and reports are a no-brainer at Verndale. They are a required for projects moving as slow as the tortoise or as a quick as a hare. We need to be aligned every-step of the way so we can hit the key dates whether they're a week, month or year out.
But what I believe is a true differentiator is what lies under the surface. What other hurdles or projects in-flight might be challenging and/or problematic? What key investments/challenges with your analytics, marketing or products should be addressed? Sometimes it's a matter of finding the best way to incorporate them. Sometimes it's the best way to toss them aside, being sure to consider how the rest of your organization is going to react with these decisions. Downstream impacts too often become arrows that fly by you, but because they didn't make contact, you don't even think about them. STOP. Think about the other work required including training, financial impacts or resource capital/capacity will come your way with these decisions.
At the culmination of these topics (and more), it's important everyone's aligned. Our approach is a formal presentation on the path that lies ahead and the true cost for the coming months/years from resources to licenses to change management. That will give us (the agency) the sacred “After Work” we all know/want. And that YOU, our client, know/want.
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