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Remembering Forgotten Functionality.

By Lauren Janik | August 19, 2020

The music stopped. My fingers froze. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There on my computer screen were the most beautiful boots I’ve ever seen. A few days later, the life-changing accessory landed on my doorstep. Yet, two boot seasons have passed and the boots have never been taken out of the box. Why have I committed such a criminal act? Simple, it was a case of seeing the shiny object, but not thinking through the execution. They are dressy. I work from home. They require the perfect length dress. I’m more of a pants person. The heels are stilettos. I spend most weekends at the playground.

Throughout my experience working in the software world, I’ve noticed I’m not the only one to suffer from SBS (shiny boot syndrome). IT teams are called in to find the newest products that will accomplish the newest buzz phrase. Staff members plea for the latest and greatest features and functionality. Jaws drop at product demos. Everyone gets excited about the potential the new software offers. Yet, the amazing, cool, new features often do not get implemented. And it’s not without good reason. Getting up and running on new enterprise-level software systems take time. Once the basics are working, people need to go back to their day jobs. And like the boots in the back of my closet, all of the amazing shiny objects go untouched.

Are you ready to brush off the dust of some of your forgotten software features? Here’s how to get started.

Figure Out Your Why?

Why do you need this feature? How will it help your constituents? Which personas will it benefit? Will it help you meet your strategic goals? Create a few real-life scenarios that will describe how you and/or your constituents will interact once this feature is implemented. For example, are your constituents required to track continuing education credits?  If so, how would using automated prompts to alert them to relevant classes and upcoming deadlines bring value to them? 
 

Consider the ROI

There’s another reason features don’t always get implemented. Money.  Adding new functionality has cost implications—whether it be an add-on to the license cost or the cost of the time it takes employees to implement and train on the new functionality. Organizations need to consider the ROI of the efforts.
 
For example, imagine you want to use personalization to ensure that meeting registrants see Join us at the foundation dinner instead of a Register now promotion. Think through how much revenue could be brought in using personalization. Could it help you meet your attendance goals? Another example, if you implement a content analysis tool, what would the ROI be for having your content editors focus on the website topics that are most engaging to your constituents?
 

Find Your Partners

While you may be the best developer in the office or the smartest marketing whiz around, don’t go at this alone. A cross-functional team is imperative. Representation from marketing and IT are essential. Determine what other voices need to be involved. Do you need buy-in from a member of the senior management team? Need insights from the frontline (member-services department)? Invite them to take part.
 
Make sure each person understands the goals behind the project and how success will be defined. Help each person feel like part of the team. (I love a good team name and theme, but that’s not 100% necessary). Occasionally, you may need different perspectives, so invite others to join the conversation. Brightfind clients can schedule a slot during Brightfind’s office hours, for complimentary strategic guidance by one of our digital experience experts.
 

Create a Schedule

Have you ever completed a task at the last minute just so you can say it’s done in an upcoming meeting? Me either. Don’t let this new project get lost in the crazy day-to-day. Schedule time with your team each week to concentrate on new functionality. Hold yourself accountable for telling your team what was accomplished or learned since last week. Decide what the goal is for the next week and keep at it.
 

Bite-Sized Chunks

Confession, this piece of advice was “borrowed” from Andy Dempster, SME’s Web Manager. (Does it still count as borrowing if you don’t ask for permission first?).  Going from zero to fully functional is daunting and unrealistic. For example, if your plan is to start taking advantage of your CMS’ personalization capabilities, start small. You can begin by offering a personalized message for members who need to renew. Or offer a unique CTA for web visitors who have previously visited your member benefits page. The possibilities are endless. Just don’t try to tackle them all at once. Take your time and do it right.  
 

Retrospective

As your journey continues, it’s important not only to evaluate what you’ve done, but also to re-evaluate where you are headed. Are you still focusing on your strategic goals? What, if anything, has changed since you began? Have any company-wide goals shifted? Do constituents have different wants or needs? Has a global pandemic rocked the world?  By evaluating, and re-evaluating, along the way you ensure you’re heading in the right direction. 
 

Celebrate

Implementing new software features and functionality takes time and dedication. Give yourself credit and celebrate your wins. Every now and then, allow yourself to kick off your (shiny) boots and do a victory dance.
 
 

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