Set the right goals for your tech initiatives: 2. Alignment. The Customer Journey
In our last blog post, we took a look at how a Minimal Viable Product (MVP)* is a good path for companies to pursue, as it allows them to build their tech solution as they go while not dropping a lot of time, energy, and money into technology that isn’t providing any value until it’s completed and officially launched.
In this post, we’re going to discuss going beyond the Discovery stage — which we highlighted as one of the most important elements when starting with a client. Again, during this phase, it’s critical to get a good handle on the client’s tech needs, and goals; this is where collaboration on both sides of the table is key in putting together a framework that guides and supports the client’s vision and end-goal(s).
Once client tech needs and goals have been established, and the framework is developed, there are a number of steps that should be considered (both in putting together an MVP as well as longer-term projects or solutions). Here is how WillDom handles important steps within the Alignment phase:
- Kicking off for success — An official kickoff meeting between the Development teams and the client’s teams is always a good starting point, not only to discuss initial steps and deliverables or tech, but to provide that human interaction at the very onset.
Meeting in person adds another layer to communication and collaboration. In most projects, the Client’s Teams travel to meet the Development Teams at one of our 6 Agile Delivery Offices in South America or vice versa. At WillDom, we believe a 15-minute in-person meeting is equal to 150 phone/video calls to build a personal relationship.
In this stage, key project sponsors are identified and key questions are answered such as:
- What are the objectives and key considerations?
- What’s the vision of success?
- How will you celebrate success along the way?
- What is everyone’s role on this project, and how does it help with that success?
- What are the key milestones?
- How will risks be identified and mitigated?
Team compositions and charters, a clear communication plan, and a roadmap are shared among team members.
There is also time for some fun. At WillDom, we encourage Team building and bonding activities from day one. Playing fun group-based games are used as icebreakers in which co-equippers get to know more about each other.
- Creating Top Performer Teams — Every client wants to be set up for success, and a contributing factor to that is setting them up with the right team members. Obviously for the best chance of success team members should be chosen based on their tech background and expertise, as well as soft skills in working closely with the client.
At WillDom, we have a close relationship with more than 4,000 developers, engineers, and technologists in our talent pool to choose from. Through our WAVE platform, we are able to keep track of all relevant information in considering the best team members for our clients.
But this is just the beginning. Building a high-performance Team takes more time and effort than just grouping Developers together. This chapter is crucial to the project’s success. The Teams set their own and unique working agreement and rules based on WillDom’s six high-performance blocks, including:
- Positive bias
- Self awareness
- Error handling
- Initial Backlog Refinement & Estimations — The purpose of the backlog refinement is to decompose the highest priority items in the product backlog into user stories which are suitable for inclusion in the next sprints.
Main goals in this phase include prioritizing the work for two upcoming events, confirming the product backlog items are ready with the corresponding user stories, and creating a roadmap defining epics and features.
The project goal shared by the Teams is the compass for each decision. Four basic pillars when creating a successful roadmap at WillDom include:
- Reviewing the Roadmap exercise
- Scheduling Epics
- Prioritizing Epics and Features
- Keeping track of technical debt sprints
- Renaming the Business Case — What seems to be the business or tech challenge?
It’s easy to think the problem we see on the surface is the problem. But sometimes there’s something below the surface that’s causing trouble. Going deeper is more difficult, but it can also be far more valuable.
At WillDom, at this stage, we work with our Clients on these three topics:
- Define the business or tech challenge
- Explore how people are affected
- Uncover a deeper opportunity
- User Journey and UX Research to Reach the Goal — Sometimes questions are more important than answers. The four-step process of creating a user journey includes:
- Define distinct stages: Stages plot the high-level life cycle of the user’s journey from beginning to end.
- Identify touchpoints: Touchpoints are user actions and interactions with the product/tech/business. It’s vital to identify all main touchpoints and all channels associated with each touchpoint.
- Mark actions with user sentiments: Marking actions identifies vulnerabilities and provides an understanding of the good and bad parts of the user experience.
- Identify opportunities: Look at the highs and lows of the user experience and discuss new opportunities to create positive change.
UX research is the key to grounding ideas in reality and improving the odds of success. It provides an essential foundation for design strategy. It helps you to create an optimal product for users. Most importantly, you’ll have the data to back your strategy and design or tech decisions.