The road to transform your field service organization does not need to be a rocky one. Solid, upfront planning and a laser focus on your team can make your journey smooth. It can also help you realize the benefits from your field service solution investment quickly.

Are You Ready?
This might sound like a simple question, but how do you know? What key indicators give you confidence that your organization knows the solution deployment plan and how success will be measured? How do you know the right team has been assembled with the right skills, the right goals and a clear understanding of how they will achieve the desired outcomes? Here are two things you can do to ensure your project stays on the road, and out of the weeds.

Plan for Outcomes
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Building a credible plan that has both top management and the execution team’s full support can be harder than it looks. In fact, you greatly improve the odds of achievement by taking each and every business objective for the solution and drilling into the processes and systems that will deliver the expected result. Most importantly, ambiguity in the process will be removed by documenting how goal attainment will be measured and how those metrics will be built into the field service solution. Write it down and have everyone on the team, from top management down, agree on the plan.

Plan for the Right Team
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie

Staffing the program team for success is often overlooked in IT project implementation. It’s easy to rationalize that the skills you have map well to the skills you need. Often, this is not the case. By developing a skills map, you can identify the critical skills required on the project, map your team to those skills and then augment your team as necessary with outside resources. And don’t forget to consciously develop that team. A team that knows and trusts each other performs better every time. Frequently, we see a short-sighted budget-driven approach to staffing that shortcuts critical team skills and assumes that the human factors will take care of themselves.

Several months ago I participated in a project kick-off where the project manager took an extra two hours out of a packed agenda to let each of the twenty people in the room say a little about themselves. The manager asked each person to explain what the project meant to them, what their hobbies were and what they were looking forward to that weekend. What a great way to simultaneously break the ice within the team and confirm alignment with the project objectives! Over the course of the week-long meeting, the participants often referred back to those personal anecdotes and it opened up communication within the team.

Fast forward several months, and that team has successfully hit their milestones– leveraging those relationships to overcome challenges. And they’ve done so with smiles on their faces throughout the project’s lifecycle. The results are a credit to our customer’s investment in planning and team development. That two-hour upfront investment in team building sure paid for itself.