Friday, April 11, 2008

Client Eye Review

One of the very first projects at my current engagement is handling a tried and comfortable method of simulation animation with a team adept at a certain way. This was a time when 2 of my reliable team leads left the organization. The audio vendor we engaged was without any defined SLA's.

Being new, the first thing I realized was that the quality of the audio recordings in multiple sessions did not have the correct settings. The stereo mixing was incorrect, the audible levels were not matching with each other. How much ever trials to correct them were not leading us satisfactorily to the end output result.

Further, being the first in engagement with the client as a company and team, we were caught by the customer in the delivery quality. To complicate matters, there were issues in the delivery which were not caught in the review cycles instituted as a process.

What did we do then ??

Enter the process of "Client Eye Review"...

What is the process all about? Get the entire team sit in a conference room and have a product viewing session.

The Objective:
Role play the customer and try to find as many obvious seemingly small issues that can be found without much attention.

The Reason:
People with technical knowledge and working in technical area always seem to be chasing the big issues and looking for challenge to all reviewers to find a show stopper or a critical issue. While they feel that smaller issues can always be fixed in a matter of time. Even now, after 10 projects together, I am grappling with the same mental model of developers. Enough explanation that these seemingly simple issues are what affects the customer psyche and are the uncovered open visible issues that puts off a customer confidence, never has satisfied their quest to find bigger hidden issues. These issues they feel are worthy of their time are known only to them and not to customer, still never makes sense.

The Real Timing of Client Eye Review:
The client eye review is very very important when the company has acquired a first time customer. The importance of communicating what the customer feels rather than sees has to be perceived to make repeat business happen.

In my current experience, client eye reviews are the best way to start an engagement before the first delivery to make a decent impression. While the use has not been of much bigger value from second releases, rather after the time the team is comfortable working on the project and know all the most common errors/mistakes/issues that customer is likely to find.

Isn't it a great quality system where a team remains unchanged and committed to a customer thereby making a committed customer good business sense?

What is your customer acquisition engagement execution plan?

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