By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)
How do you build digital projects that make your client go “Wow” every time? At Zemoga, the WOW is where we start.
Not following me? WOW stands for “Web Opportunity Workshop”, our name for what is commonly known as a discovery session. The discovery session is a key component in any best practices development model and one of the most exciting parts of any project we work on. Quite simply, it’s where we identify the strategy behind the assignment.
What is a WOW? It’s a facilitated session where we gather the key stakeholders for a project in a room. This is a highly focused meeting with no cell phones or laptops allowed. Depending on the size of the project a WOW can last anywhere from 6 hours to 3 days. It’s a relatively straightforward process but a lot of information is captured during that time. At Zemoga, we use literally hundreds of post it notes to capture all the relevant data from a session. The end result of all those tiny notes is an SOW or Statement of Work, the blueprint from which any project is built.
WOW sessions are designed to capture all the information from key stakeholders but are typically limited to a dozen people or less. If the group gets any bigger there are just too many voices and input to effectively capture data. The WOW focuses on client and end user interactive needs and the facilitator follows a methodical process to identify those needs.
Sessions normally start with the facilitator asking attendees to identify and clarify the business objectives for the project. Once a consensus has been reached, the moderator will then ask attendees to identify desired outcomes and success factors for the project.
From there, the group moves on to a discussion of end user objectives. The facilitator asks the team to create a picture or profile of the end user and identify all the key players (actors) and their relation to the project. He or she then concludes this part of the session with the simple question “What do they want from us and what do we want from them?” After a clear picture of the user has been created and their needs have been identified, those wants can be transformed in to application features or specific activities associated with the digital strategy. Finally, the moderator asks the team to identify KPIs (key performance indicators) so that the appropriate metrics tools can be incorporated in to the project.
There’s a lot more to the process but this gives you a basic overview of how we start to plan and build a digital project. Clients are often surprised by the data we uncover and even more surprised when they realize that they had a lot of this information all along. By focusing on the end user, a clear and easily understandable digital strategy evolves. And the creation of a robust SOW where all the actors and user needs have been properly identified is the first key to digital success.
Have you ever conducted a discovery session for a project or process in your business? How do you guarantee a “WOW” for your customers?