Whatever your agency’s mandate your software system will inevitably provide services to end users.
Agencies utilizing a permitting & licensing system like POSSE PLS will count property developers, builders, inspectors, and business owners amongst their end users. Conversely, Alcoholic Beverage Control agencies utilizing a solution like POSSE ABC will include liquor licensees as well as wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and hospitality venues among their end users.
Before you articulate an innovation vision that transforms the service offering for this diverse group of constituents, it’s important that you engage with this community to fully understand how the current system fails to meet their needs and confirm what innovations will truly move the needle for them going forward.
Modern day governance is strongly focused on citizen engagement so it’s entirely possible that your agency will have existing infrastructure in place to help facilitate effective engagement and information gathering with your end user community. To maximize your efforts in this area, we recommend the following steps:
- Identify the national organizations that represent your end users and seek out the studies they have published on recommended best practices for future technology implementation. In the case of a permitting & licensing software system like POSSE PLS, this includes organizations like the National Association of Home Builders, the International Code Council, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the American Planning Association.
- Reach out to constituent organizations and your agency counterparts in communities where effective new solutions have been launched recently to quantify their end user benefits and overall system assessments. These first-hand accounts of system usage will provide you with invaluable insights on the technology ‘pain points’ that plagued their previously compromised or antiquated systems, as well as the effective user experiences within the new system that facilitate legitimate efficiencies and growth. Take note of the historic pain points to ensure your final proposal rectifies them all AND to ensure the necessary fixes are captured as core system requirements for your software system of choice. Again, a consultative Solution Provider can be of assistance here in routing you to the appropriate contacts to facilitate this investigation.
- Define a short list of potential end users that each represent one of the key use cases in your envisioned system and facilitate an open dialogue with them to define what their ‘wish list’ service solution would look like. Too often, the vision for a future technology solution is hampered by the constraints of a current solution that end users have simply learned to live with. Particularly with solutions like POSSE PLS that provide an underlying development platform and business rules engine, it’s preferable to reimagine business processes from a clean slate to better envision a system that truly maximizes the technology’s capabilities to facilitate the substantial leap forward defined in your jurisdiction’s overall innovation strategy.
- Throughout this end user engagement process, consolidate your findings and compare them to the system vision that you articulated in the Discovery Demo phase. Pay particular attention to the features and benefits that end users deemed as crucial that solved key pain points. Flag these as high priority points of emphasize as you progress into the next phase of crafting your Change Narrative. Similarly, flag benefits that end users deemed as low priority or non-essential. These ‘nice to have’ features could represent areas for future requirements de-scoping, particularly if they represent custom development outside the boundaries of the out-of-box solution.
- For a final sanity check, consolidate your product vision into a final benefits list and survey your end user base providing them the opportunity to grade your envisioned project wins, as well inviting them to make suggestions for future improvements that may not have arisen from your previous discussions.
Ok, engaging with your external end users was a lot of work, but the good news is you now have a firm grasp what your product solution needs to make taxpayers excited and supportive of your project. Now it’s time to engage with the audience that will likely welcome you with open arms, your agency colleagues that are having to make do with an underperforming legacy system. It’s time to engage with your internal users.
Previously in this series: Building Consensus for Software System Replacement
Coming soon: How to Engage Your Internal User Community for Feedback
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