Collaborators: Connie Konon, Senior PM, PM Guild Co-Lead; and Anne Smith, Program Manager, Team Lead, PM Guild Mentor
Implementing new cloud-based systems into your organization can be daunting. With so much to consider, it’s crucial to align your organizational objectives with your implementation milestones at the beginning of your project to set your Salesforce implementation project up for success.
Before the pandemic hit, Traction on Demand had begun shifting the way we deliver projects, we call it the Traction Trail Methodology. This framework enables us to emphasize the most important phase of project implementation—the scoping process—to ensure we’re spending the right amount of time digging deep into business requirements and understanding how to implement them before jumping into the build phase.
Traction Trail methodology
Why the scoping phase should be your top priority
Based on early conversations, you may have spent quite a few hours asking questions about current system interactions, maybe even had time to do a reverse demo. So why are we spending weeks scoping and defining projects once we get started on the implementation? This is a critical step in ensuring a successful implementation and will significantly increase your organization's time-to-value.
1. Identifying your real pain points
It will come as no surprise organizations can surface up many pain points within their current systems and processes. But when it comes to implementing new cloud-based solutions to get the most value out of the product, a deep understanding of true pain points is crucial to reach successful implementation. You’ll want to ensure your implementation partner is willing to dig deep with a thoughtful approach to identifying these pain points.
At Traction on Demand, we start by focusing on the scope defined in the Statement of Work (SOW) and we translate it into user stories. Once the implementation team understands the organization structure, they unpack differences and similarities between different personas, to get to a high-level conclusion and start drafting these user stories. The refinement of these user stories is an iterative process done in joint sessions where key stakeholders of the project take advantage of our portal (Traction Enable) so findings are transparent in real-time. They’re based on the client's day-to-day work and how they interact with their sales, support, and other systems—all written in their language making them easy to understand. This helps the implementation team uncover top pain points and how the team understands the needs of the business.
What is a user story?
User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature, written in everyday language which describe a specific goal (what) from the perspective of an individual (who) along with the reason (why) he/she/they want it. Think 'needs focused', not 'solution focused' yet
2. Transparent and consistent documentation the whole project
Transparency and consistency can seem like it’s a given for any collaborative project but this past year we’ve seen a dominantly virtual world and it’s more important than ever. Some organizations scrambled to jump onto collaborative project management tools to store information in one place. So when working in partnership to implement new cloud-based solutions you’ll want an implementation partner to give you transparent and consistent documentation the whole way through to the end product.
Traction on Demand has a strong scoping process because we use Traction Enable. We shifted away from heavy documentation to user stories that consistently explain who needs to do what, when, and how with less wordy text full of technical jargon. The user stories will also outline acceptance criteria to be met to consider a project requirement completed. The user stories will be used during the build phase and the acceptance criteria will form the basis of the quality assurance testing that Traction on Demand will perform. In cases where our clients participate in the build, user stories and Traction Enable makes it easy to collaborate.
3. Better preparation for a successful build
Spending the right amount of time scoping the work will allow the implementation team to get a real understanding of the client's expectations of the project. This will translate into quicker time-to-value and less re-work. Better preparation in the pre-build stage will only result in higher confidence in the quality of the end project and the ability to reach the set go-live date.
While the user stories get finalized, the technical team starts thinking about solutions and as we approach the next phase (build and quality assurance), the team will have a deep understanding of the requirements and how to implement them. In many cases, we may do quick demos or video recordings to begin to show how the solution works to support the user stories and start painting a clear picture of the implementation plan and the end product. We will incorporate the feedback received from our business partners in this phase to ensure that when we get to the build phase, everyone is confident we’ll meet key project success criteria. Because of the collaborative nature of this scoping process, there will be no surprises when we get to this last phase because open conversations and documentation have been shared throughout the weeks of joint scoping.
4. Reduce the number of change orders
Delivering on budget is a key success criteria for any project. By scoping and planning the right way, you reduce the risk of changes in the budget set after the scoping phase. This ultimately ensures a smoother project progression and a quicker delivery.
Let’s face it: change happens. Our goal when we deliver projects at Traction on Demand is to satisfy our client’s expectations while delivering a quality product and providing them with the best consulting expertise. This deep dive into the business requirements and project motivations on certain occasions may result in a change order by the time we get to the build readiness checkpoint, but the likelihood of having to do another change order is reduced due to the extensive work done in the scoping process.
More discovery in the scoping process equals quicker time-to-value
If you thought all of this would mean many meetings to get to the build readiness checkpoint, you’re right! But the benefits of this deep dive are completely worth it because a strong engagement in this phase will guarantee a usable, high-quality product at the end of the project. Traction on Demand’s scoping process provides our implementation team and our clients with consistency and transparency throughout the entire project delivery. This results in effective ongoing collaboration and alignment with our clients that ultimately ends in setting your Salesforce implementation project up for success with quicker time-to-value.