Post 10 of the Series
What should you watch out for when purchasing a Document Management solution? Management knows exactly how it works!
How many times have you worked on a Document Management and Business Process Automation project and had Management say that there is no need to work with the staff because Management can tell you everything there is to know about the process? Exactly! Too many to count.
And how many times have those projects been truly successful? And no, success does not mean that you got to the end of the project and delivered "something". It means that the project was completed AND the customer gained significant value from the implementation.
Management typically has a good high-level understanding of the process and the purpose of the process, but they usually don't know the nuts and bolts. The people that live the process know and understand what is really happening.
They may not always know why, but they know what is going on and where they have created short-cuts to get around the stupid stuff and all the bottle-necks that management created.
In order to have a decent shot at being successful, you have to look at the process from both perspectives. I call it the "Top down bottom up" approach. The analysis and implementation is performed iteratively. Start with management to get the over-view of the process. This will give you the road-map and some of the "why's". Then work with the people that are doing the actual tasks to get their understanding of the details.
Now take these two perspectives and merge them together. Follow up with each group until you have everything you need to show the current state. Get them all in the same room and walk through the process in detail to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you have accurately represented the process.
There is at least two ways to go from here. Interview the groups and individuals separately to get their ideas on how to make things better, or get them all around the table for a brain-storming session. If handled properly, brain-storming sessions can generate many great ideas in a very short amount of time. It does depend on the work environment to some extent. People don't always feel safe presenting their ideas to the team. You really have to judge the environment and then decide which way to go. Individual interviews will take longer and often the project will lose momentum. Either way, the main thing is to get everyone involved in developing the new process. People care more about what they are doing and the success of a project when they have a say in what is happening.
Now, what do you do when you are handed a project and management says "there is no need to interview the staff, we have already given you everything you need to know"? Well, you place it on the ground and slooowly back away.