When the lock-down started several projects were ongoing in different lifecycle stages: just out of the planning phase, on–going and in the hypercare phase. Over the past 6 months we have learned new ways to deliver events that under normal circumstances would have been perceived as impossible to deliver off-site. This has taught us what to prevent and do well to facilitate a successful go-live of projects.
The initial stress the global lock-downs created, needed to be managed quickly to ensure critical elements such as maintaining the confidence of clients in our ability to deliver. We also invested time into keeping the motivation of consultants that only 1 or 2 months earlier had started and just got their way into existing teams allowing for the organizational mindset that it was all possible.
We started with providing simple solutions to our team members such as second monitors, proper office chairs and high data-bundle dongles for staff without sufficient bandwidth. Luckily, we had several critical elements already in place since our team was delivering in various continents at the same time: a 15 minute stand-up meeting at the beginning of the day to share personal priorities. We just made this a more formal and per project effort.
To ensure full alignment with our clients, we invited them to our internal huddles allowing us to make best use of all project members’ intelligence and time whilst being fully transparent.
For a planned workshop in Africa to create a blueprint for the end-to-end invoice-to-pay process we had to cancel the flights and plan a digital way to deliver the envisioned results.
We had daily meetings of 4 hours in parallel with two different teams: a Process Track and a Technical Track (interfacing). The two tracks went through the following cycle per day over a four-week period:
- Understand the requirement (i.e. one or two invoice scenarios per day)
- Build the requirement/scenario in the application
- Show the scenario built
- Get input to improve
- Fine-tune the build
- Get approval
- Understand the new requirement/scenario. etc
Finally, we delivered a complete blueprint in 4 weeks, something that would typically be achieved in 6-8 weeks under “normal” conditions. COVID-19 was delivering benefits too!
Going Live with any new software is a scary thing. We could clearly see the difference in those cases where we would go-live with new countries as part of a roll-out and in cases where our solution was new for everybody at the client’s side. The learnings in the latter situation is that in order to ensure complete understanding of the tasks and activities ahead is to schedule more time than it seems to be necessary to:
- test together (especially during the User Acceptance Testing phase handholding is a must)
- have the possibility to share screens,
- properly structure training sessions,
- be able to look people in the (virtual) eyes
Good humor and build a personal relation even under these socially distanced and virtual times is as well a key element of building trust and to deliver the envisioned results together.