There are a few key-points that can help you get the most out of your pilot project that we will share with you in this article. These tips will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls when implementing a remote guidance or remote assistance solution and also make sure that you set your company up for success!
Starting a pilot project - it's all about good preparation
1. Put together your project team
At the start of the pilot project you first of all need to choose a few other project members to help you with the evaluation. A tip is to choose people who you know have an interest in business development and new technology, they will be your internal champions to help test this in the organization. It’s also good if your project members are some of the intended future users (which ties into the second point to consider before starting).
Most likely management has an expected outcome for the project, make sure everyone is aware of that outcome and knows why this project is important for your company. Also, set clear roles and responsibilities in the group so everyone knows who’s doing what.
2. Identify your use case(s)
For the pilot project to be successful and bring value you need to make sure that you have a clearly defined use case(s) - not just for the pilot period but what you intend to use it for after implementation. You probably had an idea about use cases already when you started to look into different remote support solutions so this shouldn’t be too hard! But make sure that the use case is aligned with your team members so you agree on what you are going to test.
Tips for identifying potential use cases
It’s always good to start by considering what existing pain points you have at your company - it can be both for internal processes or external facing processes such as interactions with customers or suppliers. A typical pain point is a step of a process that is not working well (low efficiency, high cost, time consuming etc.) and the next step is then to understand why it’s not working well. Depending on the root cause you then determine if a remote support software is the solution, or part of a solution to the problem.
If you need some more inspiration on use cases you can read this article “5 typical use cases for remote guidance”
3. Decide how to measure success
Once you have the use cases defined for the pilot you have one challenging thing left to do - but this is also one of the most important things: agree on how you measure success and define those KPI:s! To make sure that remote guidance brings value to your company you need to have an idea of the added value you want to create in each use case. You also need to know how you will follow up on those KPI:s.
A good place to start is to look at what KPI:s you are working with today and what data you have access to. What you want to make sure is that you by the end of the pilot period have clear results for each use case: did using remote guidance contribute the value you aspired for?
Tips for setting goals for the project
When considering how to set the goals for your pilot project it’s always good to fall back on the ‘SMART’ goal methodology. Your goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. You can read more about how to set SMART goals here.
Start the evaluation period - and gather input
Once you start the actual evaluation phase you should have a clear start and finish date for the project. It’s also good to have a few milestones throughout the project so you can monitor progress. Here are some tips for making the most out of your evaluation phase:
Training - make sure that all the users in the project are familiar and comfortable with the software, otherwise the project will never take off. Make it clear who they should turn to if they need help.
Regular interviews - deep-dive interviews with the most and least active members of the pilot group, designed to provide deeper insights into the user experience.
Admin portal statistics - ongoing gathering of user data through the admin portal, providing information such as duration and volume of calls.
Ongoing documentation - hopefully you have decided how to measure success, but the next step is to make sure that these measurements are carried out throughout the project. Think of a process to gather this data during the evaluation period.
Final survey - a detailed survey sent to all pilot group participants, gauging experiences, and potential new use cases to provide detailed conclusions as to the value of the product or service
Best practice - the 3 rules
To summarize these three key factors are critical to getting the most from your pilot project:
Leadership - You need one person to ensure that the team is following the protocols, using the product correctly, and reporting back their experiences (both good and bad) in a format that can easily be collated for later review. Have a single point of contact who takes ownership of the project.
Preparation - We have already covered this, but can’t stress the importance enough! Before the project even starts, identify the key stakeholders and together with them agree on what problems you are trying to solve with this project. Secondly, establish what success would look like - What would be an ‘acceptable’ improvement? What would be an ‘excellent’ one?
Conclusion - Once you’ve gathered all the data and feedback, have a clear plan as to the next step. Have a roadmap as to how you’ll apply the knowledge that you’ve gathered, either in refining your product/service or looking at other areas of your business where it could provide value.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to structure your potential pilot project - and how to ensure its success!
We at XMReality have helped several of our customers with pilot projects to evaluate our software and each and every project has been unique in content and time span. You can actually read about one of these pilot projects we did together with a manufacturer of overhead cranes and get some insights on what they thought were the key success factors - and some surprising discoveries as well! You can download that story here.