Many small projects add to big wins!
Now that you have envisioned the CX your customers, it's time to start executing projects to achieve that vision: Below are examples of what you can do to move the marker toward a better CX.
Maturity Models/Growth Plan
Now that you’re up and running with your product or service, consider building a maturity model. A good model includes a current state assessment of your business on all aspects, and targets for each aspect over a period of time. An assessment should be taken lightly, and likely will involve workshops, interviews, and reviews across the organization to really understand what is working, what is not working, and what is within control to change. Consider the following example of one activity for training within HR organization.
While the tool is relatively simple, please know the process can be quite tough to align on realistic and actionable goals at each phase. The discussion, thought and cross-team engagement to set the goals of each maturity phase are the critical takeaway, while the model just helps to document those discussions and keep the goals front and center.
A good rule of thumb is maturity models should include achievable periods, no more than 3-5 phases (i.e.: years, quarters, or other time boxed periods).
Project Planning, Management, and Roadmaps
Once you developed goals in your maturity model, you’ll want to plan how to achieve those targets using a project roadmap. This will give you the specific items to move along the maturity model and achieve each phase.
Be sure to build a separate plan for each project needed to achieve your target. This will make it easier to track progress, risks, and action items. You can always have a roll-up view or dashboard of all projects together.
My advice is developing two documents.
1.) A project roadmap shows multiple projects working together to achieve a goal. Much like a highway roadmap shows a path from City A to City B, the project roadmap aims to show how projects get you from point A to point B
2.) The project plan (one for each project in your roadmap) should be as detailed and minute as you can make it. This is day-to-day
Both documents are crucial to showing progress and maintaining accountability. These help in communication to nearly any stakeholder, help manage risks, activities, and keep track of the steps needed to achieve your goal that moves you along your maturity model.
Also, consider incorporating design-thinking principals into your projects. For example:
1.) Start by seeking specific pain points and/or needs of the stakeholders.
2.) Create activities in your project that incrementally meet those needs (i.e.: show how each project step ties to meeting a stakeholder need)
3.) Show incremental progress along the way, whether it be with a prototype, pilot, or small feature that shows movement.
4.) Get feedback, test, get more feedback
5.) Iterate and adapt based on feedback
6.) celebrate wins and communicate as you achieve each step.
Processes and Policies
Making your business scalable (where certain tasks are repeatable) is one of the keys to success. If you are spending time re-creating the wheel with every project, you are going to waste valuable time and resources. In order to do this, you’ll need documented templates, policies, and processes.
Examples vary by the type and maturity-level of each business, but the outcome is the same.
Please note that developing internal documentation and templates can be time consuming up-front, but you will save time in the long run by having a method for others to follow, and a solid start for every subsequent project you do.
Some examples of documents include:
Procedures for adhering to those policies
Processes to achieve the procedures
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Knowledge Management repository
Of course, this is not a fully comprehensive list. We advise documenting more than you think you'll need early on in your organization maturity. Once you start scaling, efficiency in how you execute is crucial to staying competitive. You don't have time to keep re-inventing the wheel with every customer. Documentation helps to maintain consistency across teams, business units, and your company as a whole.
There is a lot of research behind organization development. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a lot of great resources on Organizational Development from the HR perspective.
Our take of organizational development goes a bit further than just HR, and also takes into the how your organization develops as a whole (employees being one facet of a comprehensive develop approach).
The key here is to confirm you are considering development, regularly and consistently. Never stop maturing your capabilities. Once you do, competition will quickly catch up and pass you.
Some items to keep in mind are regular organization analysis around performance, culture, skills, resources, customer and employee satisfaction, process effectiveness, and operating environment (external forces).
While it is easy to get lost in focusing on only on sales quotas and production targets, the development piece aims to improve how you hitting those to identify ways (including people, process, and/or technology) to do it better.
An organizational development plan should be included in your maturity model, and even repository of organization documentation.
Business Planning – There are a lot of resources out there on writing a business plan. However, conducting research, documenting, and maintaining the plan takes time away from your day job. Consider the items below to help write this "guiding light" document which has been deemed as crucial to business success.
The key is to determine what you need to achieve to your business goals, in an organized and actionable format by which you can track progress within a period of time. This requires a lot of internal reflection and discussion to consider several paths for achieving your mission.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE offer great templates for the items to include in your plan.
In addition, consider writing abbreviated plans for your organizational units. Yes, that's right, just as a business plan for your company has been shown to deliver significantly greater viability in the long run ( some research shows 20%-30% increased in an company's success), so too can having a plan for each organization.
Some items to consider include purpose and goals, value generation to the company and other business units, budgets/financials and break even points to be successful, management and structure, and how competitors are operating their business units.
Organization Design – Now that you have your business plan, and go-to-market plan, you’ll need a strong organization design to captures how you bring everyone together to deliver on your mission. More than a simple organizational chart, the design defines how all of the moving pieces in your organization fit work seamlessly together to deliver your product or service.
Some key items include organization type, governance and decision-making structure, chain command, span of control, processes, procedures, policies, roles and responsibilities, skills (general and specialized) and resources needed, and how you consistently address customers' needs.
In a good design, you’ll not only want to layout how the organization achieves the company mission, but also consider redundancies in case a process breaks, and install mechanisms to measure performance throughout the organization. This is crucial to only establishing a culture, but maintaining the culture as your grow.
Mock-ups and Examples – How can I determine if customers understand my product or service?
Just start small and simple! There are many ways you can build a quick and easy customer-facing tool to showcase and determine if your design, solution or approach meets customers' needs and it easily understandable.
Build, show, collect feedback, iterate, and build some more. try the following
1. Create infographics to simplify complex information, data, processes flows, or functionality
2. Develop wireframes to showcase how a product's functionality or user interface may look. This is a simple way to quickly mock-up your idea to collect feedback from potential or current customers.
3. Build a general webpage. Using a simple webpage design to showcase an idea, concept or product. This cans be used to assess interest and collect content information. You can even test out marketing strategies using paid advertising tools to see which ads drive people to your page.
Don't be afraid of harsh feedback. Keep it mind, all feedback can be used to improve your product or service so you can and iterate, iterate iterate until you achieve customer's biggest needs.