Remember the adage “slow and steady wins the race” from the fable, “The Tortoise and The Hare” that shows us that a consistent, effective effort leads to success? Or have you ever wondered why a baby crawls first rather than simply standing up one day to run a mini marathon around the kitchen? Scientifically speaking, crawling helps develop and enhance a child’s vestibular/balance system, sensory system, cognition, problem solving skills, and coordination, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital anyhow (I’m no doctor).
In short, crawling helps us get started, setting us on the path to growth and success.
It makes sense doesn’t it? Which is why the crawl, walk, run methodology has been adapted by so many businesses. It’s an approach I have long been a fan of, but it is only after starting Empodio, a Salesforce Field Service Consulting Company, in 2019 that I have a better understanding of both why it’s necessary and why it’s a hard pill to swallow.
For those of you who aren’t familiar — or are a little lost after my stab at explaining early childhood development — a crawl, walk, run approach to business is identifying a minimum viable starting point that allows you to iterate and develop towards your ultimate objective. When it comes to the world of Salesforce implementations, I’m talking about moving to a new system with a minimum viable product then iterating upwards to add more functionality until you’re moving significantly faster than you were before.
At Empodio, we generally advise companies approaching a digital transformation to adopt the crawl, walk, run methodology, in fact, we think it’s necessary to. However, I do feel it’s important to first address some of the concerns business leader owners may have.
Potential hurdles of crawling before you run
Can you wait that long for your business challenge to be solved?
If you’re considering a major change in technologies or processes for your company, its usually because of some internal or external pressure on the company that’s forcing you to do it. We’re all familiar with the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? Well, a person or company will rarely change what’s working, instead we change either what isn’t working or to pursue a greater opportunity.
So whether we’re looking for an upgrade or to fix something, we want to get it done NOW. As a result, the idea of making one giant leap to get it over and done with can be pretty appealing. Otherwise, we’re stepping into the new process one piece at a time. Can you wait to solve your problem?
Are your stakeholders on board?
In the case of business software, you’re literally changing the operating systems of people’s day to day work-life. So if you’re the person responsible for the transition, you’re staking a lot of personal and professional capital on making this change. I’ve also found that more often than not the person overseeing the change is new to their company, so they’re making big changes and they need to get it right.
You may want to absolutely WOW affect team members from the beginning. After all, you’re asking them to adopt new systems and behaviors. It’s challenge enough to inspire adoption of new technology, and it only becomes more difficult if the system is interpreted as beneath or equal to the existing software. The promise that it will help us improve things “eventually” is a hard pill to swallow for most people.
No one wants to be the person to say no.
This approach requires creating a staged approach that determines what features or processes will be in multiple phases. That requires a diverse group of stakeholders to come together and work together to determine who gets what, when.
And someone has to deal with saying no now to features that may be standard today or are valuable — not the most comfortable shoes to be wearing. It can be daunting, both for the person leading the transformation and the company overall to practice the approach or consider the idea of executing it in a cross-departmental context.
Look beyond the hurdles, the finish line is easier to reach than you think
Even in the face of these challenges — which can your organization can be counseled through with the help of a good partner — there are major benefits to the crawl, walk, run approach. Here are three.
1. Identify your priorities.
When you’re forced to practice prioritization from the beginning of the initiative, you learn how to prioritize what’s most important to the company. You’re better to clarify and understand what your key objectives are, which allows you to clearly indicate which features and functionality will be the most valuable to achieving your end results.
You can provide greater value to the organization and ensure better return on investment (ROI) by building only what’s most essential. Ditching functionality that has limited to no use to completing your business processes successfully save you money — and time — in the long run. This practice also serves you well in setting up future governance in deciding what gets built in a continual process of ongoing improvement.
2. See value sooner.
Remember the whole “we want to get it done NOW” concept from the challenges we discussed? The crawl, walk, run method can help you go-live faster, providing you the chance to implement initial solutions and start the adoption process across your team. So, what could easily have been a project five times the length — that still could have gotten things really wrong — becomes much more manageable.
You allow for more agility among the team, save resources, and ensure you see value out of the system sooner as well as over time as you make enhancements. Every second that users are in the system, you’re receiving value. Users are being trained and acclimating to the system at its simplest, minimum viable functionality for your needs and will be more equipped to adopt future processes. In other words, it ensures an easier “win” for the company, with the promise of more to come.
3. Garner buy-in for better system adoption.
No matter how long and carefully you plan your project, it won’t be perfect. “The best laid plans,” and all that. The moment your people are live in the system, the requests for improvements, changes, and issue fixes will start flowing. It won’t even matter if you’ve run through more system testing than you care to admit. Once you have people in the system and new points of view, you’ll receive the most accurate feedback of what matters most to people and maybe where you missed the mark a little.
Don’t let it discourage you though. Feedback as you iterate through your software implementation and improvements offer an opportunity to build your relationship with the people using the system. If they feel their voices are heard and you’re listening to improvements, you’ll gain rapport better and greater adoption than possible with a one shot approach. Further, with the money you saved from doing the initial approach, you can provide targeted improvements in future releases as you scale your software to meet company needs.
Convinced? Great! But there is one thing you should be mindful of to ensure a success with any project adopting crawl, walk, run approach. To make sure your projected benefits outweigh any concerns, these transformations require either an experienced team member or partner. The right partner can help you objectively weigh the ROI as they guide you to a truly minimum valuable product. Your partner will also be there to assist with the balancing act of prioritization, change management, and phasing out your roadmap so that your team can understand, and better tackle, the ongoing process of improvement.
Not sure where to get started or have questions about adopting a crawl, walk, run approach to an upcoming Salesforce transformation for your team? Contact us at Empodio.