It's a classic tale. A technology user says they need a new piece of functionality. The administrator asks them what they want, and the user provides the basic requirements. The change gets implemented, and the user complains as soon as they get their hands on it.
That's the first crack in the fragmented relationship between technology and the business that will continue to grow until users stop asking for help and start complaining about the inadequacies of the platform.
Make it stop!
You, the administrator, have the power to be the driving force behind a partnership with the business. The next time a user asks for something, engage them in the following four stages of your future process.
Although it seems like a no-brainer, many people don't listen correctly. Rather than hearing the user and everything they're trying to communicate, administrators jump to the "solve it" path on the very first requirement they hear.
While they're hard at work solving the first portion of the issue, they miss the rest! It's human nature to want to solve problems, but you might be neglecting the entire story. The devil is in the details.
Stay focused on the user and listen to everything they say. Take it a step further by writing it down and repeating it back to them to ensure you've got it all.
Understanding requires you to dive even deeper into listening. Yes, deeper! Some questions to ask are:
You can also request them to:
Then and only then do you walk away and begin to think through solutions.
Here comes the fun part! Take everything you've learned from the business: the requirements, what challenges they're trying to solve, and why it's important to them, and merge them with your technology solutions.
Be mindful of the user experience and the personas that will use this bit of functionality. When you have some options to share, present them to the user via a proof of concept, mockups, or a whiteboarding session.
Show how you can connect the technology to the business process to provide a solution. Explain the pros and cons of each one so the user can make an educated decision on the best option.
Once the user has decided upon the solution that will work best for the process, the easy work begins. Make sure to stick with best practices regarding the implementation of any configuration or development work necessary.
If it happens to be a larger piece of functionality, consider doing demos along the way to connect with the business and avoid any surprises upon completion.
Once the functionality is ready, provide any necessary test scripts to the users and allow hands-on testing. Ideally, the predicted outcome you list is the outcome they receive and expect.
Use their feedback to determine the quality of the "Listen," "Understand," and "Connect" steps. If their expected outcome is vastly different than the one you provide, a miscommunication has occurred, and you will need to restart the process.
Are you struggling with gathering requirements from the business? Check out some of the business process design materials on our website or find us at a Dynamics 365 or Microsoft 365 event. And you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to give you a hand!
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