We can get so much valuable information from clients if we only just ask.
Frequently we will be asked to implement a new system because the old one is broken. The starting point tends to be to go through each functional area and ask what you want the system to do in each one.
We can be missing an important trick here in not taking the time to talk to customers and prospects about their current processes – how are you currently doing it – describe it and importantly, why are you doing it that way. This may be walking through a spreadsheet, describing the manual steps and processes on a whiteboard or physically writing it down.
By talking and stepping through the current processes, there is a two way communication between the business and implementation partner. The client may not have even thought about it until asked to communicate the process and in doing so starts to question its purpose and what he or she actually wants.
Existing processes are often deeply ingrained as they have been done that way for so many years or inherited from previous people making it difficult for a customer to think differently.
At the end of the day, the value a business gets out of a business improvement project is totally related to the clarity of what they want and the vision they have of the new and better world.
The question I am leaving is how can we assist businesses to develop their vision and clarity of project aims better?