4 Lessons on How to Deploy Software Remotely
When the COVID-19 lockdown was announced in March, we aligned internally as well as with our clients to prepare for any necessary adjustments to workflows and ongoing projects. While there were some minor changes as staff began to work remotely, projects themselves did not stop. Through this process we developed the experience to kickoff, deploy, and train teams on our software, entirely remotely. In just the past three months we have launched and run four deployment projects in three global regions. There were of course some challenges to overcome, some great wins, and the lessons we learned, shared below. We hope this article can support your successful remote projects, for now and the future.
Lesson 1: Drive Sponsorship & Commitment
When kicking off a project with a new organization, there is always that excitement and new people introductions. It is important to maintain that momentum throughout the entire deployment process: continuously align with the project sponsor and lead, and at the same time establish practices to keep the team focused, engaged, and moving forward.
Lesson 2: Select the Right Platforms
When deploying remotely, nothing can “figured out on the fly”. Having a meticulous and consistent process in place demonstrates preparation and foresight. Brainstorm with your team ahead of time to anticipate, practice, and stress-test any tools, presentations, naming convention or methods of communication that are new due to the situation.
As a company of 60 employees spread over four offices and multiple time zones, UpClear had an early advantage of identifying the best platforms and practices to optimize our remote ways of working. We leverage those tools with our clients, making sure that the means of sharing communication, clearly outlining workflows, and assigning tasks and deadlines are all used for a work experience and deployment that is as smooth as possible.
Lesson 3: Be Flexible and Patient
Remember, everyone is going through the same period of adjustment that you and your team are. There will be some children popping into the video frame, some last minute needs to reschedule, and a lot of “Can you hear me?” “How about now?” with this new reality of how we continue to work. The way to make the best of the situation is to communicate to the point of overdoing it. Whether it is your internal team, a last minute fire drill, or that extra time spent to make sure everyone’s questions are answered, having a flexible mindset, and remaining patient and communicative will help you, your team, and your client experience.
Lesson 4: Celebrate the Wins
One-off task, or new requests will frequently come up. Take time at the start of the process, to identify the priorities that your team and the client recognize as key determinants of success. Alignment on what is most important, where immediate needs are, will help all teams remain on the same page by setting common goals. Identifiable goals and milestones also translate into celebrations of those wins. This is an extraordinary time in history, and celebrating the teams and individuals that are moving the needle in these times, is a must.
Director of Client Services, Americas
Q: What were the main differences you noticed when deploying BluePlanner remotely?
A: Less (in-person) happy hours. We’re used to deploying remotely, and historically our clients appreciate the fact that we can be more flexible with them by being remote and just as successful. The current situation doesn’t change that model but only highlights the advantages to remote deployments. The biggest downside is missing the moments when we can connect in person and strengthen our relationships which helps to make the whole process more efficient, but not necessary to being effective.
Bevan Webb, Director of Client Services, APAC
Q: Recently you kicked off a project with key discovery sessions with Kraft Heinz in Asia, all remotely. What were the biggest challenges you faced during this time?
A: Through managing remotely, we’ve identified two elements to consider, when working from a distance:
1) Encourage Engagement – From our recent experience, we’ve learned to keep session duration reasonable (less than 2 hours) and that being prepared with visuals, discussion materials, and best practice insights significantly aid engagement.
2) Maintain Momentum – Taking an agile approach, and offering small, incremental configuration options means the client can validate system configuration settings and help speed up adjustments, when needed .