Why successful CX projects are set-up in reverse
Managing CX projects is a difficult art. The biggest challenge is that CX project managers have to live with a lot of uncertainties. In most companies, CX projects are also closely monitored, which increases the pressure on project managers and teams.
CX projects differ from "standard" projects in their structure. By "standard" projects I mean all the usual projects that are carried out in large companies with goals such as process optimization, cost reduction, sales increase, software implementation, training, etc. More precisely, most projects are key figure driven. Some number is wrong in the balance sheet or income statement and you think about what you can do for or against it.
"Standard" projects start with the key figure and end with the customer. CX projects work the other way round, they start with the customer and end with the key figure.
This has an impact on the whole procedure. "Standard" projects start with a business case. CX projects do not do this. And this is where one of the most common and serious mistakes for the CX industry happens: no business case is made at all, but the "belief that it is the right thing to do" is appealed to. THAT IS WRONG!
Belief is good, proof is better
The correct thing is to create a hypothetical business case. We cannot accurately predict the impact on customers. But when we have done our homework, we have a fairly accurate anticipation and will be able to prove the exact impact. These uncertainties, especially at the beginning of a project, make it very difficult to start and get through CX projects.
You have to constantly give the stakeholders security in an uncertain procedure.
Overall, "standard" projects can be divided into three to four phases, CX into five:
"Standard" project sequence
- Set-up: Calculate business case, plan procedure
- Possibly pilot: test implementation on a small scale
- Relocate: Implementing a project, doing, achieving impact
- Reworking: Possible corrections, adjustments. Unforeseen effects.
CX projects sequence
- CX-Design: understanding customer needs, ideation and prototyping
- Set-up: develop impact hypotheses, plan procedure, zero measurement
- Learn: pilot project, follow-up measurement, control measurement, corrections, iterations.
- Plan: reflection of the learning, calculation of the business case, Go/No-Go decision.
- Implement: Implement project, do, achieve impact, set up monitoring.
The biggest strength of solid CX projects is that you can focus on the impact on customers and employees and prove it exactly. Here "standard" projects can learn a lot.
Too often, projects are implemented without thinking about the impact on customer and employee experiences. These KPIs are hardly included in the business cases. THIS IS WRONG TOO!
A software introduction that scares off customers, a process optimization that outsources the effort to customers, a cost reduction measure that generates costs for employees should have to include these impact KPIs as well as the effort for adjustments or rollbacks. But they usually do not have to. So if we are completely honest, these business cases are also only hypotheses peppered with uncertainties just not transparently presented.
So both types of projects can learn from each other. CX projects must deliver more facts and figures. "Standard" projects have to be more transparent in their impact on customers and employees.
Join the Live Q&A Webinar on successful project management in CX, next tuesday at 16:00 UK time.
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In two weeks I will show you in the next blog article how a CX Business Case works and how you calculate it for your CX projects. Register here to not miss the article: https://cxheroes.podia.com/