The needs addressed by the platform (or not) definition and the perimeter covered (or not) are essential aspects of the project success. A clear vision – especially shared! – allows to focus energy and time invested on targeted objectives.
In general, the organization carries out needs mapping and its transcription with specifications upstream of a possible invitation to tender and the evaluation of the different technological solutions. It often takes a certain amount of time between this first diagnosis and the choice of the provider. It is therefore more than appropriate to re-evaluate the situational analysis when the project starts.
The needs definition is closely linked to the problem(s) that the organization seeks to resolve. For example:
To reach a panoramic view of the situation, it is important to hear all stakeholders: sponsor, members of the project team, management, employees of different hierarchical levels within the targeted departments.
Taking into account the context makes it possible to understand the situation as a whole (and its complexity!). Is it only a lack of adapted tool(s) or is the problem deeper (organisational, cultural, etc.)? It is important to bear in mind that the successful implementation of a knowledge sharing solution is always linked to cultures and uses change support.
During the audit, the project team seeks to capture both qualitative and quantitative elements. Data, even if most often limited to estimates, will prove useful for measuring the progression and the perceived benefits. For example, a survey of the time devoted daily to the search for internal information and the search for the right interlocutor can be carried out at the time of the needs analysis. The same questions can asked once the platform and the new behaviours are adopted. Even if it is only one indicator among others, it is a simple way of measuring the uses progress.
Focused on capturing qualitative information, interviews have the advantage of increasing the motivation of the collaborators who appreciate being included and feeling that their concerns are heard. These interviews make it possible to discern the collective needs and motivations from individual needs and motivations. This is essential. If the temptation is to respond only or primarily to the concerns of the project sponsors, remember that the dynamics of a collaborative platform exist only through individual contributions. From the first connection onwards, the user must understand the direct benefit(s) available to him/her. Another advantage of the interviews is that they provide the opportunity to inform and identify project ambassadors, or even, for the most motivated ones, future facilitators.
Finally, it is critical that needs are expressed in operational and not functional terms. At this stage, it is not about imagining a solution but rather of providing a problems inventory. Publishers are often confronted with demands expressed in extremely precise functional terms ( “need” a button like this or a list like that) without being told the objective and the context.
Once the needs have been identified, it is important to define priorities and offer options.
It is highly advisable to take the time to draft the vision , mission of the project and an elevator pitch that frames and delimits the scope of the initiative. You will be able to convince employees with greater ease when your communication is coherent, clear and concise.