When Traction on Demand engages in the delivery of a client project that is 100% remote, there are certain challenges that need overcoming. Through investing in the right people, planning and technology, we’re able to mitigate project risks and often deliver in a more efficient manner.
Let’s look at a few key project phases below, and how Traction on Demand (ToD) was able to overcome challenges that recently occurred.
Traditionally, upfront elaboration sessions take place over two to three days, where both the ToD team and client stakeholders travel onsite to meet in person. While these sessions are productive with face-to-face interactions, it’s often difficult to capture (and action) on all information gathered during an intensive two days. Performing elaboration sessions remotely allows for the following:
- More effective approach to elaboration: Spread out elaboration over several days, providing both teams with the ability to break the sessions into smaller chunks and more time upfront to regroup, analyze and document – prior to moving onto the next elaboration topics. While this may mean a longer elaboration phase (ie. five days instead of three), this translates into greater effectiveness when scoping requirements and provides greater direction to the client in follow-up sessions. It also meant ToD could get subsequent requirements to the client faster.
- Saved money and time: While elaboration might be spread across more days, both the client and ToD experience cost and time savings (travel and expenses), as well as greater accuracy in delivery following the elaboration.
PRODUCTIVITY SAVER: With a virtual project team, individuals have more screens to work off when creating deliverables and documenting sessions, which ultimately contributes to a more effective elaboration.
To counteract the lack of face-to-face engagement, ToD ensures we always use high-quality video conferencing software so that we always put a face to the name (and voice). This not only creates a better connection but ensures improved engagement from both teams. We recommend Zoom Video Conferencing.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Common challenges often experienced with UAT execution involve a lack of focus from the client team as well as a lack of ability to triage user issues in a timely manner. When running UAT sessions remotely, these challenges can be exacerbated but also mitigated with proper investment in the following items:
- Consistent Communication: When delivering projects remotely, our teams maintain regular cadence, similar to office hours, that are built into their calendars. Whether there are pertinent topics to address at the time or not, maintaining an “office hours-like” cadence ensures both teams are bound to collaborate regularly. Cadences vary with the project (daily, twice a week, weekly, etc.).
- Client Preparation: We do our best to prepare the client for UAT far in advance of the testing phase. Specifically, we’ll:
- Ask client testers to complete Salesforce Trailheads prior to starting UAT, to familiarize themselves with the technology.
- ToD writes requirements with the user in mind, allowing clients to use the acceptance criteria attached as a baseline for clients creating the UAT test cases.
- We’ll provide the client with UAT artifacts prior, including our Prep Deck, Kick-Off Templates, Test Case Templates, UAT Feedback Forms and more. This way, both key stakeholders and testers can familiarize themselves with the process prior to actual testing sessions.
- Make it Engaging: Whether you’re onsite or delivering remotely, UAT needs to be fun! ToD always encourages our customers to gamify the process, so that testers are completing their daily test cases and logging bugs properly.
ToD frequently runs deployments remotely and very successfully. By investing in the right technologies, communication channels and collaborative deployment process, remote deployment becomes more efficient and cost-effective.
- Gearset is a release management platform that is helpful in delivering a consistent deployment process through our development and testing environments and finally, to production.
- A well-defined deployment plan and process includes:
- Ownership of roles and responsibilities across both teams.
- Regular touch-points at kick-off, checkpoints through deployment and final review and wrap up.
To deliver effective user training remotely, our team invests heavily in preparing our customers throughout their project or engagement so that final user testing doesn’t come with any surprises.
So what’s critical for the success of remote user training?
- Key stakeholder training throughout the project: If you know you’re going to be delivering your training remotely from the onset, investing in continuous enablement of your key stakeholders throughout the project is critical. By enabling them to champion the technology, you’re able to set them up as the main onsite facilitator, while ToD is supporting virtually. This increases their confidence and ability to manage their systems internally.
- Comprehensive training plans: We work hard on our training plan and run our clients through it prior to delivery so that they’re prepared for what we’re going to do, and can be advocates for the system and their users. We’ve also invested in people who have the right skills to deliver user training in an effective and engaging format.
Deliver Success, Remotely.
“Overall, Traction on Demand was there every step of the way. It felt like they were an extended member of the team, and they drove an incredibly complicated project to completion on time, on budget, and with all stakeholders excited for the outcome.”
Regardless of the phase of the engagement or scope of the project, successfully delivering work remotely requires pre-planning and consistent communication and an investment in video conferencing technology – to not lose the impact of face-to-face communications.
Invest in a team-based messaging solution, like Slack. By opening up Slack channels with our customers, we’re able to triage smaller issues quickly and outside the regular cadence. For complex challenges, we recommend using Zoom Meetings and a more defined process for issue management (such as JIRA or Traction Enable).
Remote project delivery frees project teams of time constraints when travelling and visiting onsite, and ensures the right amount of time and space are given to effectively prepare, collaborate and act.
ToD has invested in developing our own technologies to increase project effectiveness and client collaboration. Traction Pulse allows us to collect client and team sentiment at any point during a project cycle, so that we can better adjust and improve based on how the individuals on the project are feeling.
Traction Enable is a custom-built Salesforce community that allows our team to collaborate in real-time with our customers; Enable provides customers with a one-stop portal for project artifacts, status reports, team profiles, sentiment tracking and much more, ultimately increasing the trust and transparency on their project.
We’d love to hear from you!
Is your organization set up to deliver client success remotely? Have you considered the infrastructure, people, process and technology components? Especially in uncertain times like right now, Traction on Demand is here to help you through what can be a game-changing transition in your business.