Finding out customer needs, and whether we can help them
Initial meeting and research
The digital services architect will set up an initial meeting with the customer.
This is an opportunity to find out as much as possible about what the customer wants and needs. Sometimes an initial meeting is not enough time to understand this information, and an additional 2 weeks is spent on further research.
Once enough information has been gathered, the leadership team will discuss whether we can (and should) deliver the project.
We will discuss…
- Is the budget agreed, and does the customer have access to the budget?
- Does the value outweigh the cost? (is it worth it?)
- Is our team the best option for the work?
- Do we have the right resources available?
- What are the risks and constraints?
- Who will be involved – and will the product owner commit to 80% engagement?
- When is the proposed start date?
If the leadership team believes we should go ahead with the project, we present a proposal to the customer.
The proposal outlines what might be possible within the given contraints. We provide guestimates for time, cost (including ongoing maintenance costs) and scope.
It’s important to tell the customer that the proposal is based on the information provided in their initial meeting and will vary as new data is discovered.
Reassure the product owner that you will be working closely with one another and will re-evaluate the estimate at each stage of the process.
Do not provide dates for the work, as this depends on developer availability, which is changing all the time.
Work should not begin until the product owner signs off the proposal and provides a cost code that has enough funds available to cover the estimate. There is an 8-12 week lead in time from when the proposal is signed off.
When the product owner has signed off the proposal and provided a cost code, you should help them prepare for kick off.
Write a brief of tasks for the product owner to complete before kick off. This will ensure that we do lot lose momentum, waiting for the cusomter to get back to us.
When these steps are complete, start the design process with a kick off meeting. The meeting should be timeboxed to 4 hours and will introduce the product owner to how we work and what we will need from them throughout the project.
We need an engaged product owner, with the power to make decisions on behalf of the service.
You must have written sign-off for the proposal from the product owner, accompanied by a cost code that has an available budget to cover the work.
Send the product owner a a brief with the tasks they must complete before kick off. This includes sending us key business benchmarking data and gathering a user group.
Kick off meeting
Go through the roles, tools, methods and expectations for your project. Ask questions, challenge assumptions and gain clarity.