When opportunity knocks, of course you must answer, but sometimes you need to take the initiative.
At CurrentDesign, we work with organizations to help them find opportunities to help achieve their goals through investments in web technology. To do so, we are keen to better understand their strategy and participate as partners to discover solutions. However, we are well-established as technology deliverers, and we’re often called upon to provide already defined solutions.
In these situations, the client may have limited time or interest in taking a step back to consider the requested solution from a strategic perspective. Some delicacy is required on our part to determine if and how to reframe what we’ve been asked to provide and consider it in light of fundamental principles:
- What is the organizational goal the requested solution is intended to support?
- What is the business case?
- Are there objective measures that can demonstrate the success of the solution?
In some cases, the client has their head down with a clear, intuitive grasp of what is needed. In many of these cases, we feel it is best to simply take the order and deliver efficiently.
In other cases, there is a chance to raise some questions during the discovery phase. In a recent case, enhancing an event registration system component, we were requested to provide a technical solution to automate messages, to ensure participants were reminded to attend. We raised a question about the cost per benefit, as the organization was currently only offering one course per year, and it would require some development effort to implement. The site administrator could leverage existing registration lists and communication tools in the system to send reminders without much effort per course.
This provided a learning opportunity for us. The client was planning on increasing both the number and sophistication of the courses – so multiple reminders per course would be required, including to distribute course materials. With this information, we were able to appreciate the client’s back-of-the-napkin business case for the automated reminder feature, even as we elicited more complex requirements.
In raising the question, we had a fresh discussion of the feature, in midst of which, one of the client participants raised the question about sending reminders by SMS text as well as by email. From this idea, we were able to apply the idea of automated texts to a related issue of waitlist management, further bolstering the business case for the automated messaging.
We are delighted when we can provide added value to technology solutions. Sometimes this is achieved by determining that a requested feature is not required, sometimes by discovering new solutions to achieve an organization’s goals, and sometimes by simply raising questions, providing an opportunity for the client to come up with a fresh idea.