As an Account Executive at Silverline, one of the most common questions I receive from project sponsors at my clients is: “What can our team do before kick off to get a head start on our project?”
Where to start before you start
After the selection process for Salesforce and an implementation partner is complete, there are many ways you can begin to plan for your digital implementation kickoff meeting.
1. Assemble your team and prepare your people
Silverline will provide our clients with a list of key roles, responsibilities, and anticipated time commitments for the project. Your executive sponsor should set the vision and guiding principles for the project and from which your Salesforce roadmap is designed.
Your assigned Product Owner is a critical role responsible for ensuring that the solution development and inevitable changing priorities align with the vision, guiding principles, and roadmap. Ideally, this individual will have tenure with your company to successfully navigate partnering with business owners and stakeholders. Be sure to include business users on your project team that have been involved in other transformative projects at your organization.
These “change champions” should come from the various business units who will be most impacted by the change. Change Champions are typically well-respected subject matter experts (SMEs) and will serve as advocates and evangelists for their respective teams.
The Executive Sponsor and Product Owner should reach out to business unit and project managers to set expectations for when team members need to step away from their “day jobs” to attend Discovery sessions. Proper relationship management helps your Change Champions from ending up with multiple projects competing for their time.
2. Start planning for change as early as possible
It’s never too early to start to prepare for change! Significant change is brought about by strategic digital transformation initiatives. It is also best served by a formal approach to change management. This helps employees to navigate through change and achieve desired behaviors and results as smoothly and easily as possible.
Best practices include assessing your organization’s readiness for change in order to effectively design your change management strategy which should include communication training, and user adoption approaches, plans, and tools.
Silverline has worked extensively with our clients on these endeavors. Our Change Management blog post series “How to Prepare for Successful Change Management” explains this in detail. Or, you can download our Change Management ebook, Unlocking the Mystery of Change Management.
3. Encourage your teams to kick start your Salesforce learning through Trailhead.
Salesforce offers comprehensive online learning modules called “trails.” These are interactive learning paths, which allow individuals the opportunity to improve their skills and gain an understanding of the basic building blocks of the Salesforce Platform. Trails range from Beginner to Admin and are gamified with badges. This lets you encourage your teams by creating leaderboards and providing incentives.
Often clients say “but Trailhead isn’t customized for the way we do business here.” At Silverline, we know it is incredibly valuable for users to learn what the platform natively does so they can better understand the solution. Then users are more prepared for when we perform demos and discuss customizations.
4. Get ready to be agile and adaptive
Silverline uses the Agile methodology for project delivery. Agile is an iterative delivery that ensures release schedules operate at the speed of the business while staying true to the business’s needs.
Being educated on the Agile approach can help improve collaboration and communication, further setting your project up for success. Salesforce offers Trailheads to “Learn the Basics of Agile” and “Learn to Use Lean Principles” and Silverline can provide materials to educate your team before your project starts.
Silverline also begins all of our projects with an “Adaptive Methodology Primer.” This helps clients learn the key concepts of our Adaptive Methodology and understand our project delivery. For other reading we also suggest, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.
5. Define and document your processes
One of the most common reasons projects run slower than anticipated is that business processes are not documented. This can cause clients to spend too much time trying to chase down decision makers during a project’s discovery phase.
Don’t stress too much about perfection — a general idea of how current processes run and the ideal future process is a great start. Silverline can help to fill in the blanks of what we’ve seen at other clients, and provide suggestions on how processes can be more efficient. We are always happy to provide you with the information we’re looking for in workshops and provide guidance on what to expect. For example:
- Listing of existing products, product lines or categories and related details
- Sample reports or metrics commonly referenced by different teams/groups
- Any systems architecture diagrams or existing integration design documentation
- Guidelines or policies related to compliance or system usage
- An org chart representing either the organization or the users who will be using the system
6. Define metrics for success
Start early to define key performance indicators (KPIs) where you anticipate having the biggest ROI for your upcoming project. Think about roadblocks, time sucks, and frustrations caused by your current environment. Make sure you take the time to understand how a department or team actually works, not how you think they should.
Focus on removing friction, improving functionality, and maximizing operational efficiency. Check out our blog series on “Digital Engagement Drives Connected Experiences in Banking” and our Connected Experiences Playbook for Banks and Credit Unions playbook which talks about the importance of considering the value in the Salesforce platform. Not just the value after your Salesforce transformation, but before you even start.
7. Provide environment and systems access
This may sound like a simple one but not having access to the correct environments or systems access is a top reason that projects start later than our clients would like. Providing access to Salesforce and other systems will help our team prepare for kickoff, too. Also, make sure that Silverline understands what collaboration tools we can and cannot use — video conferencing platforms, documents sharing preferences, etc.
Silverline is here to support our clients both during the sales cycle, before projects kick off, and of course once your digital implementation begins.
Interested in kicking things off with Silverline? Reach out.