So, we have arrived at the point where you’ve dreamed up some digital engagement strategy magic for your Extension program that, once deployed as a Salesforce site, will advance Extension’s mission of serving Oregonians. That’s great! What now?
What’s the time commitment?
The next questions are the obvious ones: what does a CRM project look like in real life? What decisions will need to be made and how will it move from inception to deployment? And… how much time do we need to get the job done? Let’s review a pretty typical framework that helps answer that very question.
Step 1: Assessment, resulting in a Project Charter
The CRM project team will consist of the primary stakeholders inside your Extension program and the Navigator digital engagement strategy team. Work sessions will be scheduled in advance to allow the project team to meet for about four to five hours per week.
The team will focus on establishing what reporting needs exist for the program. In other words, what data points need to be delivered to governmental bodies/agencies, division leadership, program leaders, constituents, or other audiences. Decisions based on this assessment will lead to planning the CRM app design to facilitate collection, analysis, and delivery of that info using Salesforce. The info we glean from this step yields the set of Project Requirements.
Project RequirementsThe operational features of the CRM software that provides the functionality needed for the project to be successful. In other words, if each and every requirement is satisfied by the performance of the CRM software, then the overall project is a success.
Once the Project Requirements are established, we express an agreement to proceed with development work using a Project Charter document signed by the team members. Now, the project may move ahead.
Project CharterA project charter is a formal, typically short document that describes your project in its entirety — including what the objectives are, how it will be carried out, and who the stakeholders are. It is a crucial ingredient in planning out the project.
Step 2: Develop, test, iterate... and repeat
As the Salesforce developer, I will be engaging in dev (development) cycles that fulfill our project requirements. This does mean the time commitment of other members of the team will be relatively low. The primary requirement is time spent reviewing the individual deliverables provided by the developer and providing thorough feedback and/or approval. Review sessions will be scheduled to correspond with incremental milestones reached during each dev cycle. The sessions are expected to occur on a weekly basis.
The goal here is to produce working CRM components, to test each one thoroughly, discover what works and what doesn’t, and then create new iterations of the components until they meet everyone’s behavior and performance expectations.
The Salesforce source (programming) code that delivers the functionality needed to satisfy the project requirements.
Step 3: Deploy, CRM training
The light at the end of the tunnel appears! As we run our project through its final paces, and conquer our last set of bug reports, all we are left to do is celebrate our new CRM app that’s ready to launch for the world to see! Our party will include cupcakes and/or some organic, nut-n-berry muffins, plus a round of high-fives for everyone who contributed to the project’s success. This is the point at which full deployment of the new source code means the new CRM app is “live” for your target audience to access online.
DeploymentThe deployment of a project is the final step that makes the new CRM app available to your users and the broader public. Now that beta testing has been completed, the app is ready to be used for actual work.
Build it and they will come? Well, no, we know better than that. Your team will benefit from a new CRM app only to the degree they’re informed about best practices and how the app becomes a digital tool they can turn to in their day-to-day work. As we did back in the day when Microsoft Word or a web browser was first introduced to our daily routine, a strong “habit” can be hard to establish, but progress should be steady and consistent.
The Navigator team will be there to schedule periodic trainings as well as provide ad hoc support.
The goal is for everyone on your team to make a contribution to the success of new CRM practices. The highest rate of success will come from nearly everyone pitching in to the effort. The Navigator team will coordinate with the leaders in your program to ensure we set the appropriate expectations and respectful approach to the time constraints you face during this time.
About the Navigator digital engagement team. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me (Mark Kindred) as I begin a phase of needs assessments, as a step toward producing a long-term CRM strategy. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring my work is in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term vision of the university. The digital engagement team is looking forward to talking with you about how digital engagement is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits.
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