Implementing the Host Analytics product is a challenge for many reasons, one big one being as customers become more aware of what Host can do, and it can do plenty, their eyes get bigger and scope creep is just around the corner. We accept a certain level of scope creep because there is virtually no way to get the design perfectly the first time out of the gate. That’s because of the immense flexibility Host has is designing its templates and reports to suit the needs of its customers. So we discover and design and source requirements through a variety of sources but still, it’s those “oh by the way” details customers tend to share at the last moment that getcha….right?
So we are always looking for ways to implement more efficiently in order to offset those times when we know things are going to go off the rails. Host implementations are quick, some of ours go for only a mere 8-10 weeks. We’ve actually gotten customers live in four weeks depending upon what we could prioritize on the project plan. Here’s five secrets we share internally with our other project teams to ensure things never stop moving forward:
|1. Schedule every meeting in the implementation before the project starts.||No more coordination of schedules. No more wondering when we’ll talk with our customers again.|
|2. Ask clients to commit to working sessions each week for every week of the implementation during the project kickoff.||No one gets to hide when decisions need to be made.|
|3. Prioritize everything on the project plan.||Provides the best opportunity to get the client live with the right capabilities without compromising the overall schedule needed to get the client using Host.|
|4. Expect to make at least two-three passes at every template.||Provides customer with a more exact tool which only becomes possible after the customer has familiarized themselves with the Host application.|
|5. Once milestone dates are established schedule all-day client availabilty for lead consultants for the two days leading up to those milestones.||Marks the calendar to ensure that whatever time is needed to support a go-live is there for each resource on the project. Rarely is a lot of time needed but clients always know we have their backs.|
We’ve been implementing these secrets above and many more for parts of the past three years. We saw results immediately in a reduction of cycle time, better sourced requirements, and customer satisfaction.
Internally we have a much better handle on what our consultants are working on and for whom. Pre-scheduled working sessions have been the greatest source of stability for our implementations. And so long as clients don’t feel imprisoned with them, they go very smoothly.
We recommend having an agenda for each session, even if the agenda consists of only of three to five bullets. So long as there is a basis for the discussion, the 90 minute sessions go wonderfully. We do not recommend going beyond 90 minutes simply because people burn-out and become ineffective and make poor decisions based upon their desire to be out of the meeting. That last secret is a freebie.
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