A membership or community website can transform the way you do business, present your services and engage with your audiences. From the outset, it is important to spend time on analysing the project outline and how your team will capture the attention of key stakeholders to get them involved, as you drive towards the launch. After all, time management is a key challenge for business owners and if initial conversations and meetings do not lead to a buy-in to the idea then it may not be a suitable way forward for everyone at this stage. A discovery session can be a solid method to kick start your web project.
A positive approach is to develop a structured strategy for talking through stakeholder requirements and goals. However ambitious your project may be, most decision makers will all agree on saving time and resources whenever possible. A discovery session is a process, which is supported by the session of meetings between the project team and client to understand the business, its goals and strategy. Participants in the session can be fully informed of how the process will evolve, with a shared high-level understanding of the project.
Firstly, you can start a discovery session by exploring the subject area, examining the business processes and learning about the expectations of the membership or community website project. Identify potential barriers along the way, form priorities and describe solutions. The key stakeholders will not buy in to the project with a scattered approach to implementation. They would appreciate a clear path so they can see the roadmap ahead of them and how they will get there.
At Web Foundry, we have developed a solid process with our web projects, where we kick start with a team discovery session. This is a great time to get all the key stakeholders around the same people to check needs are understood and opinions heard. It also gives us a chance to talk through processes in more detail, setting out realistic timescales and agreeing on what each person needs tocontribute to get the job done.
A key step in running a discovery session is to determine the level of involvement of each person and the allocated budget. Our team will start by taking a step back and assessing the business as a whole, looking at current goals, areas of the business that can be improved and reviewing the main competition.
There may be ideas and steps that you have previously tried, which have not worked out and previous marketing campaigns with similar objectives can be reviewed together in the discovery session. Key stakeholders will want to drill down on the target audiences, and this can be done based on four key areas:
1. Socio-Demographic – age, gender, occupation, location, and education.
2. Geographic – location, local and national, urban or rural.
3. Psychographic – opinions and attitudes, activities, values andpersonality.
4. Behavioural patterns – status of change, readiness to change, relevantbehaviour.
Accountability builds trust and Web Foundry will be accountable to you for delivering what we promise, such as availability for meetings and calls or to provide content when required. We form a partnership with mutual respect and a two-way commitment to getting the project completedon budget.
Timescales are always important to get key stakeholders synced to your plans. A community website can take time to implement successfully with time permitted for beta testing with a small focus group and user testing. You can benefit from online communities in many ways. They provide insights in customers’ preferences and needs, can increase customer retention and loyalty, improve reputation and thought leadership, decrease support costs, and allow more collaborative ways of working, including crowdsourcing. These benefits address some of the key concerns of stakeholders,such as business growth, security and change management.
We put honesty at the heart of everything we do and use discovery workshops to discuss price structures for a fixed scope of work. This way everything can be signed off in the first session and everyone is clear about the way forward. Please get in touch, if you have any questions on how you can take the next step in this process – contact Web Foundry.