I’ve just returned to Switzerland for the very last two weeks on my project, here. What I’d thought could be interesting, is to blog every day about how the project is going. I meant to do it from a general standpoint, of course, since I would never talk about a customer specifically-enough to tell everyone what they’re doing.

But due to a variety of problems, starting with a hotel room that advertised internet access but where I could never get a connection, to a crazy late-night of work, I have not quite been able to devote the time to this, yet.

As such, I might as well get started.

So, my final two weeks require supporting the running of the test scripts for an environment with compliance intentions. Additionally, we did a workshop for a wide variety of users from various areas to show them what we did so they could see that we didn’t forget about them – that the new features are meant to be available to and usable by many areas. It went very well. I just finished collating the response sheets and I see that most people really liked what we presented, found us well-prepared, and thought it relevant to them.

To do this, we had the right mix of people, both of end-users and consultants. We had many documents to work with to feed-into our presentations, including things like definitions of LIMS terms, for example. We had the drive to make it happen and a strong team spirit. Plus, we had a lot of coffee to keep us awake during preparation!    🙂

The workshop helped give high-level training (and we have our scanned training certificate log sheet to store in Documentum), plus gave people an opportunity to discuss future needs and desires. Question and Answer sessions are separate sessions, scheduled over the next couple of days. This is meant to keep us on-schedule and to give people time to think about what they saw and discussed before asking their questions.

We included exercises as part of the workshop, so that people could get used to trying the system out. Attendees liked the exercises we provided, marking them relevant and helpful.

Next, as we get ready for our Q&A sessions, we’re reading our question list and our parking lot issues. We’ll discuss these in order to be prepared to give more information when the Q&A sessions occur.

I should add that this project is with a large company. We have many groups to include in these tasks and a wide variety of needs to address.

Have you thought about doing a workshop like this at the end of your project? At this customer, the politics are such that this works. They are receptive and really don’t want to be kept in the dark about what is happening. They can be aggressive with questions but respond well to our honesty about why we have done things that we’ve done. They’re given a voice to express their opinions and they do. The outcome for them is that they don’t tend to politic behind the scenes to get their way, kill the project, etc…

Personally, I’d rather have a grueling session like this and to be on the firing line to answer all sorts of things, than to have people trying to undercut the project via side avenues. I like companies who can do these things in the open very much!

But, you know the politics of your own project. If your company isn’t this straightforward, and many aren’t, this type of workshop might merely end up as an excuse for the attendees to shoot-down what the team has done. This is not a solution that works for everyone.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

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