1. Find out what the gaps are
Take some time to analyse the data you have, whether that’s from platforms like Google Analytics or records from your current CRM. Consider what this data is telling you and start to work from here.
2. Consider your stakeholder inputs
Ask yourself what requirements your stakeholders and major funders have.
Speak to your users and stakeholders and build your end goals from this feedback and a request for proposal.
3. Find experts
Ensure that you have a project manager, digital manager, or user expert within your team, or consider outsourcing an external agency to help you understand what direction to take with your project.
They can flesh out where the gaps are and what can be filled through digital.
4. Ensure you have user inputs
Find out what your users actually want, what needs you serve for them, and how can you do this. Have conversations with your users because this system needs to work for them. Build your end goals from this and build a request for proposal off the back of this.
5. Build a Request For Proposal (RFP) document
Lay out exactly what the requirements are for the project, what the platform is, what it’s being built for, and how you want the project to work. For example, you may want it to be a very agile project management system where users have input at every stage.
By doing this, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance from the onset to decide on the supplier and who you’re going to work with, what the project will cost, and the timeline.
6. Do some independent research
While going through the define and design process, consider also doing your own research to make sure that what the supplier suggests they implement into your work actually fits what you need.
7. Work in sprints
Divide your project up into chunks. For example, every two weeks Chance to Shine approached a different chunk and at the end of it, they would analyse what they had done and if it needed to be tweaked at all before going onto the next chunk.
This prevents a waterfall approach, meaning you’re less likely to be given something at the end that you may either like or dislike. You have a little more control here when working with an agency or external bodies to produce something that you’ll be happy with.
8. Set internal expectations
You’ll never have the perfect product straight away at launch. By assuming that your system will be at its best from the get-go, you’ll only put undue pressure on yourself, and the building blocks to get to this point can be easily missed.
Consider the minimum amount of functionality you can go live with where everyone will be happy and it will do what is needed – set that as the expectation. Consider whether features are a minimum viable product requirement or an ‘extra’, and then fit this into your roadmap to work on any ‘extras’ after your launch.
9. Agree on the fundamentals
Make sure to get this right and work into your RFP so that you know who needs training and how you’re going to offer it.
10. Gather feedback from users
Check back in with your users to assess whether you have met the necessary requirements. For example, Chance to Shine has a digital working group where varied representatives for the coaches from different counties meet with the charity on a quarterly basis and are shown the roadmap.
These representatives can be involved in changing parts of the roadmap to prioritise what would suit them best as the user. This group is also a great opportunity for the charity to check in with the users about the system and whether requirements are being met.
Make sure that your users know who to contact if issues arise and that there is continuous support available for them.
Many thanks to Chance to Shine for contributing this recipe.
This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Chance to Shine and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.
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