Years ago nearly all of our implementations were completed on-site. Since 2015 with the introduction of Oracle Cloud, those implementations have shifted to 50% on-site and 50% remote. Since the COVID-19 shutdown we have had to learn how to take our implementations and push them to 100% virtual. Many of our projects were mid-implementation when the shutdown started so our clients had to quickly get their workforce up and running from home. At Highstreet we had to find ways to interact with our clients and maintain the same level of engagement in order to meet project timelines and deliverables. There are a few things we learned along the way while implementing successful projects. So here are some expert tips on facilitating successful projects during COVID-19.
- Schedule meetings to facilitate teamwork and collaboration. We schedule semi-weekly meetings for 2-3 hours in order to hold working sessions so end-users can ask questions, we can run through different scenarios together and have dedicated time to work on the project together.
- Hold video meetings. Since we are all working remotely it is helpful to see one another so turn on that video! Just a few tips:
- Make sure the light is in front of you and not behind or above you. This will help with the reflection so that your face is more visible in the video call.
- Prop up your laptop or have your camera angling down onto you. While we are typically used to seeing one another and reading body language in a meeting room this is harder to do in a video call, but not impossible. Make sure your face is visible during the video call.
- Dog barks, children can be loud – this is not as taboo as it once was. These times are so much different and we find our co-workers are a lot more understanding about interruptions and noise inside the home. Just do your best to be present in the meeting. By muting your line when you are not presenting information will help reduce the amount of background noise during the call.
- Be on-time! Just like with in-person meetings join the meeting on-time so the team does not have to get you up-to-speed if you arrive late. Make sure to start and end meetings on-time.
- Turn off notifications. If you are presenting in the virtual meeting turn off notifications so that email or instant messages do not pop-up as you are presenting to a group. Sometimes this can be done by simply sharing a specific file or program depending upon the virtual meeting platform that is used.
- Share agendas as far in advance as possible. Since we have moved to virtual implementations it is important for everyone to know the plan of attack and what is happening when. For example, as we go through our testing phase it is important to make sure the right people are in the room so planning in advance should help. Many times subject matter experts need to be brought in for a short period of time so make sure that is also planned in advance. While it has been helpful to schedule many meetings during a virtual implementation we also want to make sure not to waste anyone’s time. Agendas and required attendees should be clear.
Highstreet IT has started many projects during COVID-19 and they have successfully gone live. While it takes a somewhat different approach, implementations can be successfully completed while everyone is remote, and maybe even break some records while at it. Check out our momentous FastTrack implementation for the American University of Antigua.