The current and developing humanitarian challenge, COVID-19, has compelled companies across the globe to act swiftly, and adapt existing workplace landscapes and working models to handle their client engagements.
My team and I too needed to figure out solutions that would work, given the new challenges to various components of business. For our ongoing engagement that leverages Salesforce CRM for content management including UI /UX workshops, we started by identifying the impact it had on the key phases of a SaaS engagement.
Here are some solution options identified to address these challenges within each phase:
The Discovery Phase
Humans are social beings, and interaction is important to them. This critical first phase of an engagement is traditionally done through in-person workshops to gather requirements and understand the current state. There is a huge paradigm shift in “the human connection” element here. The challenge lay in the quality of collaboration and the efficiency of running these workshops remotely. The process and the deliverables remained the same, the approach to achieve them needed to be adjusted.
- Leverage A/V tools like WebEx / Skype / Microsoft Teams to drive Empathy Mapping sessions. Video is key to capture user expression.
- Utilize sitemap creation tools like OmniGraffle, Microsoft Visio for diagramming, rapid-prototyping, and designing. Use Digital whiteboard.
- UX Ideation tools like UXPressia, Smaply enable real-time digital collaboration to create design artifacts like Persona and Journey Maps.
The Planning and Design Phase
The best outcome of this phase is achieved through multiple iterations. So, how can this be managed remotely? Leverage cloud based rapid prototyping tools to create visual checkpoints. Use demos and walkthroughs more often and collect feedback. Rinse and repeat for efficient and progressive iterations.
- Design platforms like Adobe Creative Cloud and InVision provide click-through prototyping, digital annotation, and feedback.
- Use rapid prototyping capability with tools like Avonni to build Salesforce lightning applications, web components, dashboard mockups.
The Development & Testing Phase
Most companies follow an offshore or hybrid model to deliver their SaaS implementations. While it is business as usual, in current times, this model can be used to advantage as a value-driven, cost-effective model as it offers an opportunity for seamless and rapid development.
Utilize built-in, real-time decision aids like dashboards and reports to showcase progress and drive value from the agile delivery model.
- Invest in a PM tool like JIRA, Agile Accelerator that provides an array of scrum PM tools and dozens of visual reports like burndown, velocity.
- Leverage solutions like Copado to enable faster, error-free releases with CI/CD.
- Get CREATIVE to track daily progress: use ‘Chatter’ or group chats to resolve blockers.
Ensuring successful delivery is also dependent on a few other key factors such as:
Building and maintaining that “personal connection” remotely is a challenge. Instead of relying on the “water cooler” moments, we need to plan it deliberately to make it happen.
- Squeeze in some social time into scheduled meetings, ‘chit-chat’ before or after the ‘work’ conversation.
- Share something personal: pet-talk or hobbies.
Is always the backbone of a successful engagement, but now, more than ever, it has become the need of the hour. Chances of misunderstanding multiplies via text or email when you can’t see body language or facial expressions or hear the inflections in someone’s voice. It’s important to follow up virtual meetings with redundant communication to ensure that people have heard you and that they’re OK with the outcome.
- Practice ‘Active listening’.
- Embrace ‘Asynchronous’ communication.
Among other myths and challenges, work-from-home carries a perception of reduced productivity; this may be a cause for concern for every team today.
So, be aware of your working style. Set a routine: Plan and organize yourself and schedule calls to communicate proactively.
In summary, remote working is not entirely a new concept to us. But this pandemic has brought upon us this First-of-its-Kind Global Work-from-Home experience, so we need to Adapt and Evolve.
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