Define Clear Goals and Get Consensus First
February 25, 2014 Leave a comment
When ever you are part or leading a team on any initiative it will save you hours of headaches if you define and get consensus on the goals and objectives. This should be the first step of any team as it can be referenced through out as others want ton introduce or change scope that may have not been part of the original team.
When I was asked to lead and pull together a team for our Social Intranet deployment this was the first exercise we went through. It can be painful at first because as part of the process you need to let everyone speak, define what they believe the project should be but ultimately you fill find common ground that you can all agree with. For our team we kept it simple and focused on a few items that were deemed critical to success.
First, we wanted to keep all the features that were currently available that users expected.
Second, we wanted to upgrade the platform to deliver a modern social experience
Third, we compiled a list of new features or integrations we wanted to add.
The first two items are easy to scope and reference during any part of the project but the third item needed a second step of prioritization. From of the list of features we thought would deliver an amazing user experience, as a team we prioritized on what our top 5, 10, 15 and 20 items were. Having this in place and agreed upon up front not only helps resolve potential conflicts but also will make you the super star of your IT team. IT never gets a prioritized list of items and will be very appreciative if the business can provide that so they have a clearly defined starting point and never have to worry about what success or failure may be as long as they stick to that itemized list.
Now, what this process doesn’t account for is course correction. Inherently things change. Your wish list can’t be delivered without funds, integrations or dependencies that are an unacceptable impact to your timeline. That’s when you will need to present the data to your executive sponsors and let them provide the direction. This takes you or any individual from making an unpopular decision and allows everyone to provide recommendations for consideration. If you present the pros and cons of the scope, impact to timeline and more importantly the impact to user experience then it will be pretty easy to decide which direction to take. There is a line that is drawn between acceptable sacrifice and unusable experience that is pretty easy to tell. Identifying this line with facts will allow the executive team to decide critical items for an R1 release date and anything that falls out of that bucket goes into your backlog and is burned down via iterative spinets so there is consistent progress toward the ultimate user experience.
This week will be our 7th or 8th exec review and we are at this critical juncture now where we are ready to present the data, get direction, course correct and reset expectations so we can continue or march forward to an amazing new experience.