Preparing for your Planning and Design Workshop not only helps you be ready, but it helps your consultant be able to ask better questions and come up with better solutions for your needs.
Here is a few tips to help you prepare:
- Ask your consultant to provide an agenda. Consultants will typically have one, but ask them to share it with you in advance, this way you can make sure the key stakeholders are in the rooms for the sessions they need to be in for, and you can plan accordingly
- Before any discussions start (other than introductions of course) ask your consultant for a quick 30 minute demo if you need a refresher on what the system looks like and how it works. Quietly jot down questions and hold them until afterwards. This prevents the 30 minute demo from becoming an hour or longer demo
- Poke around the system: ask for a sandbox tenant to be spun up for you to poke around and get a feel for it this way nothing the consultant talks about is a surprise. This will also allow you time to get familiar with the forms and what fields already exist and will make it easy for you to come prepared to the session with a list of fields you want added, removed or rearranged. It will also help you get familiar with the modules and what they do. All this is helpful for my next point
- Think about your current processes: How do they work now? Now compare them to what you have seen in the system after playing around in your sandbox and think about what you want them to be in the future. Hash all this out with key stakeholders and the users before the consultant arrives. Doing this while the consultant is there takes away from their time to really help you plan your design, and lets face it, it could get a little awkward for you and the consultant if a debate over a process starts (trust me, I have been on both sides- not only is it awkward, but it’s not a productive use of the time either)
- I mentioned “Key Stakeholders” earlier, remember this term – it will be important. You are going to want only the key decision makers in the room for this. Of course you want to get input from all users, but that goes back to the first bullet, hash all that out before the consultant gets there. Too many people in the room will start to get messy
- If you still have questions, concerns, or anything you want to discuss or need clarification on, write it down and bring it with you to the session. You can even email them to the consultant so that they can come prepared with answers and know what they will have to focus a little extra time on.
You will never nail everything down at first, but being prepared will probably get about 80% of it hammered out. The other 20% will fall into place as the consultant starts to bring your design to life. You will start to see your customization and then think of ways to make them even better, which is expected. But getting that first 80% down is vital to giving you a foundation to make those enhancements and making sure you maximize your time with your consultant.
Give Dataseti a call today to ensure a successful implementation, on time and budget!
-Krystina Hodge, Consultant | Project Manager