“Measure twice, cut once.” “Look before you leap.” “Don’t jump the gun.”
Okay, we’re out of idioms about thinking before acting. But too often teams make a new IT investment and rush to have it up and running before Friday. We totally understand, but with such big investments — and all the new processes that the tool has to offer — wouldn’t it be beneficial to take a step back and look at the big picture? Your team finally has a chance to redefine the way it does work; which, hopefully, will make your job easier in the long run.
Taking that step back and assessing your current state during the Examine phase is crucial. Instead of rushing through all those convoluted processes to implementation, we’d encourage project teams to approach this phase head on. This is where your voice is finally heard among stakeholders and your new ideas can come to fruition.
Let’s take a look at some areas that need the most attention during your Examine phase. Taking the extra time up front will allow your new investment to be implemented on time, under budget and exactly how you envisioned it.
Defining Your Implementation Process
A clear path to success is built in advance and includes everything from initiating the project and planning your kickoff meetings to knowing what steps will take place when your organization transitions from its legacy system to its shiny new one. Cask’s Professional Services teams use ServiceNow‘s Adaptive Implementation Framework (SAIF), a precise process that ensures everyone knows the road to successful implementation.
There are six key steps:
- Initiate: Prepare your teams, find the appropriate resources, and schedule kickoff meetings so you and your contractor can get to know each other. This gives you a chance to set the project expectations.
- Examine: Look at your current processes in detail with your project consultants. Identify the processes and define the requirements that will give you the tools that your organization desires.
- Plan: You’ve got your requirements down, now go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure every detail is included and they are prioritized accordingly. Remember that “Measure twice, cut once” idiom we referenced earlier? This is where that really comes into play.
- Create: Finally, the meat and potatoes! Watch as the development team goes after your new tool and turns it into a well-oiled machine — based off the exact requirements you provided.
- Transition: It’s your turn to get your hands on the tool. User Acceptance Testing is the main focus of this step. Break things, and then try to break them again. Make sure every bug is out of the system before you go live.
- Close: You’ve done it! You’re finally getting to reap the benefits of your newly configured software and have hit the ground running. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about a Phase II?
Capturing Solid Requirements
Define, redefine, and then redefine again. This is the exact thought process that Cask approaches every requirements workshop with. Capturing unquestionable requirements will be hands-down the most critical part of your implementation. Translating business problems into functional requirements and user stories is not an easy skill – ask any Business Process Consultant or Architect at Cask and they might even tell you it’s an art. Guaranteeing that your new tool is built the way you want hinges on the clarity of the requirements that the developer receives. Your requirements should detail every aspect of what you intend to accomplish.
Requirements can be both large and small. It’s okay to capture an ambiguous requirement during the Examine phase – this is actually a typical occurrence. But once you enter the Planning phase of your implementation, this is where you “slice” your requirement to get down to the bottom of the request using that fine-toothed comb. This is called the “Slicing” technique, and it ensures that you and your technical team understand every aspect of that requirement before a line of code is written. Remember to “look before you leap” or you won’t know where you’re going to end up.
Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run
Let’s wrap this up with one more idiom, why not? “An implementation is only as good as its requirements.”
Implementing new tools and processes takes time, and it’s important not to take too much on at once. Let’s say, for example, that your Service Desk only handled Incident, Change, and Problem tickets prior to implementing your new tool. Your team, as mature as it may seem, might not be able to handle Project Portfolio Management, HR Case Management, and two other applications along with your current ones in parallel. So, unless it’s absolutely necessary to your organization, try to be patient; those other applications will always be there when you’re ready.
We’ll be the first to tell you that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the jitters of a new tool or process but, in reality, it’s worth your while to take a step back and have a good, hard look at what implementation will require. By defining an outline to success, taking baby steps, and capturing the detailed needs of your teams – you’ll get there, we promise.
Drop us a line at https://caskllc.com/contact/ to let us know how our experts can help you and your organization succeed.