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The Details Matter: Making Sure Your Help Desk is Plugged-In on Product Launch
Sarah Edgington is a Training Specialist, Subject Matter Expert, and has supported several CMS Applications on the BOSC Team. Sarah reflects on a recent product launch where key details were caught before it could lead to a surge in help desk tickets during launch.
Launching a new application or project can be exciting and have team members ready to hit the ground running. However, it is key that leadership identify members from all levels of the team to attend strategy and planning meetings. By having representation from all areas and levels, it allows for a more comprehensive assessment and more eyes on overlooked areas.
Typically, leadership from multiple areas are involved in the planning. Depending on the project, application developers may play a major role too. However, one group typically over-looked are those who will actually use the system or project being developed. While it is very difficult to have end users (for CMS based projects – think beneficiaries, providers or insurance companies) on planning sessions, management can get those on the team who work directly with these groups.
It is key that leadership identify members from all levels of the team to attend strategy and planning meetings. By having representation from all areas and levels, it allows for a more comprehensive assessment and more eyes on overlooked areas.
Level One Help Desk Analysts understand users of the system, they understand user’s prior knowledge, limitations, and technical ability. While there is usually Help Desk leadership on planning meetings, they might be looking at the bigger picture. Does the help desk have the infrastructure in place to support this new application, how will inquiry volume be tracked, and how will success be measured? By including help desk analysts, they will be able to provide insight on how the end users will interact with the application. They are the subject matter experts of those using the system.
Below are two real scenarios that happened during new product launches:
Had help desk intervention not happened, there may have been major repercussions once the applications launched. Leading to frustrated end users, high help desk ticket volumes, and a help desk who did not have the correct permissions to support the application.
A new application was launching that would be supported by the level one BOSC Help Desk. Delays in the IDM System which would house the application, caused it to restructure how it was to be set up. The original set up was similar to other applications the level one help desk already supported. However, the delay led to a different user interface for help desk functions and it was not immediately identified that the help desk had never used this new interface. If Help Desk Analysts were on the meetings, this may have been caught much sooner. Thankfully a help desk member happened to be reviewing some of the meeting notes and realized it was a different system than what they were already using for other applications. Had this not been caught, the help desk would not have had training or access before the application launch.
Another valuable asset level one help desks can provide during new product launches, is their understanding of the system’s users. An application was getting ready to move to a new system, and they had built a new registration page. The developers had used a highly specific term for user ID. While everyone who knew the system well and had been a part of the building process understood what was being asked of users, it was not typical language used by the end users of the system. The help desk provided recommendations for improved language on the registration page and where more guidance was needed. This led to a smoother transition for system users. Without help desk analyst intervention, users may have created duplicate accounts which would have increased unnecessary help desk inquiry volume and led to frustrated users.
By allowing all levels to attend product development meetings, teams are better prepared for launch and overlooked items can be addressed before – not after the product is live.
The BOSC team learned that if a variety of members are in on new product development team there is a smoother product launch which leads to satisfied users. If you are forming a team or a part of team that is launching a product or app, consider inviting a member from the level one help desk that will support it. They can be an active listener during strategy meetings so not to interrupt the flow, but bring their questions and thoughts to leadership afterwards. By allowing all levels to attend these meetings, teams are better prepared for launch and overlooked items can be addressed before – not after the product is live. Each team member is viewing the product through a different lens and can provide valuable insight to their piece of the puzzle.