Understanding a very important phase of your implementation


“Measure twice, cut once.” “Look before you leap.” “Don’t jump the gun.”

Okay, we’re out of idioms about assessing before acting. But too often project teams make a new IT investment and rush to have it up and running before Friday. We totally understand, but with such big investments - and all the new processes that the tool has to offer - wouldn’t it be beneficial to take a step back and look at the big picture? Your team finally has a chance to redefine the way it does work which, hopefully, will make your job easier in the long run.

Taking that step back and assessing your current state during the Examine phase is crucial. Instead of rushing through all those convoluted processes to implementation, we’d encourage project teams to approach this phase head on. This is where your voice is finally heard among stakeholders and your new ideas can be come to fruition.

Let’s take a look at some areas that need the most attention during your Examine phase, and will allow your new investment to be implemented on time, under budget and, frankly, exactly how you envisioned it.

Defining Your Implementation Process

Every project team should have a clear path to success before ever stepping foot inside that conference room. This includes everything from initiating the project and planning your kickoff meetings to knowing what steps will take place when your organization transitions from its legacy system to its shiny new one. Cask’s Professional Services teams use ServiceNow’s Adaptive Implementation Framework (SAIF). This precise process ensures everyone knows the road to a successful implementation. Let’s review that 6-step process now:

  • Initiate: Prepare your teams, find the appropriate resources, and schedule Kickoff meetings so you and your contractor can get to know each other. This gives you a chance to set your expectations of the project.
  • Examine: Look at your current processes, and put them through the grinder with your project consultants. Capture and define the processes and requirements that will give you the tool that your organization has always intended to have.
  • Plan: You’ve got your requirements down, now go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure every detail is included and they are prioritized accordingly. Remember that “Measure twice, cut once” idiom we referenced earlier?
  • Create: Finally, the meat and potatoes! Watch as the development team goes after your new tool and turns into a well-oiled machine - based off the requirements you provided, of course.
  • Transition: It’s your turn to get your hands on the tool. User Acceptance Testing is the main focus of this step. Break things, and then try to break them again. Make sure every bug is out of the system before you Go-Live.
  • Close: You’ve done it! You’re finally getting to reap the benefits of your newly configured software and have hit the ground running. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about a Phase II?




Capturing Solid Requirements

Define, Redefine, and then Redefine again. This is the exact thought process that Cask approaches every requirements workshop with. Capturing unquestionable requirements will be hands down the most critical part of your implementation. Translating business problems into functional requirements and user stories is not an easy skill – ask any Business Process Consultant or Architect at Cask and they might even tell you it’s an art. Guaranteeing that your new tool is built the way you want hinges on the clarity of the requirements that the developer receives. Your requirements should be well-authored, detailing every aspect of what you intend to accomplish.

Requirements can be both large and small. The technique we find brings the most value when capturing requirement is the “Slicing” technique. It’s okay to capture an ambiguous requirement during the Examine phase - this is actually a typical occurrence. But once you enter the Planning phase of your implementation, this is where you “slice” your requirement to get down to the bottom of the request using that fine-toothed comb. This is making sure you and your technical team understand every aspect of that requirement before writing that line of code. Remember to “look before you leap” or you won’t know where you’re going to end up.

Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run

Let’s wrap this up with one more idiom, why not? “An implementation is only as good as its requirements.”

Implementing new tools and processes takes time, and it’s important not to take too much on at once. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a Service Desk that, before your new tool, only worked Incident, Change, and Problem tickets. Your team, as mature as it may seem, might not be able to handle Project Portfolio Management, HR Case Management, and two other applications along with your current ones in parallel. So unless it’s absolutely necessary to your organization, try to be patient; those other applications will always be there to implement when your organization is ready.

We’ll be the first to tell you that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the jitters of a new tool or process but, in reality, it’s worth your while to take a step back and have a good, hard look at what implementation will require. By defining an outline to success, taking baby steps, and capturing detailed needs of your teams – you’ll get there, we promise.

Drop us a line at http://www.caskllc.com/contact/to let us know how our experts can help you and your business.

Topics: cask, servicenow, Business of IT, IT Team, implementation process,