5 Tips For Smooth Implementations
By Erin Scott McGee, Chief Customer Officer & Kolby Harvey, Chief of Content
Having implemented multiple projects for enterprise organizations over the years, I’ve learned a few invaluable lessons that have shaped the process(es) we at InfinitAI use today. I’m sharing them here in hopes that others can benefit from what I’ve learned. It’s imperative to get things started right from the jump, as expectations can make or break a project. Below are five crucial practices that have been at the heart of every successful implementation I’ve been a part of.
1. Take your time and do it right
As many of you no doubt know, enterprise organizations tend to have long approval processes, often involving several parties, each with their own expectations, desires, and objectives. Allow your team enough time with your client to hammer out the scope of the project as well as a complete sense of the features your work will address (be that through creating them or editing existing ones). This will prevent you from having to negotiate large-scale changes midway through (or, god forbid, near the end of) your project.
2. Show progress early and often
In tech, the work we create isn’t always easy to see/quantify visually, especially when dealing with system integrations and tricky backend development. It always helps to get demos, mockups, or other kinds of rough drafts in front of your client as early as possible. Again, expectations can often work against you. It’s better to overhaul a rough demo than it is to battle whatever vision a client has in their head (you’ll never measure up).
3. Craft a detailed timeline
When I say detailed, I mean it. It doesn’t have to be set in stone (changes can and will happen), but it must be thorough. This document sets client expectations for you and your team. Clearly defining roles and establishing what each team member will be accountable for as early as possible will ensure that all parties involved have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and what they need to do to keep the project on track. The more invested each party is, the better the results.
4. Plan for realistic turnaround
Beyond giving your team the time needed to produce quality work, be sure to factor in how long it takes to get approval from multiple sources in your client’s organization. You might need to wait for someone to get back from vacation or maternity leave, or your client may want to run something by their lawyer before final approval. Organizations are complicated and so are people’s lives. Giving you and your clients some wiggle room will honor that and help you avoid frustrating delays.
5. Check in often
By setting weekly or bi-weekly meetings, depending on the stage of the project, each team can share updates, prepare questions, and get answers without having to wait long periods of time. These check-ins offer a perfect way to keep your finger on the pulse of a project as it progresses.
I hope these five simple practices help others in their implementation endeavors. They don’t cover everything, of course, but I do think they are essential to every project. As you gain more experience, you might come up with helpful tips of your own. When you do, feel free to share what works for you in the comments section below!
Erin Scott McGee
Chief Customer Officer
Erin has over 12 years of service experience in the conversational AI field.
Kolby Harvey, PhD
Chief of Content
Kolby is a writer, designer, and artist living in Washington state. In 2018, he earned the University of Colorado’s first creative doctorate in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance.