OCM and Strategy

Power of Preparation: Getting Ready for ServiceNow with ServiceNow Workshops

AVA eBook Download

It’s day 11, and we all know what that means. We are nearing the end of 12 Days of Giving!

But never fear, there are still two days left for you to get your fill of free ServiceNow content. Did you miss our updates last week? We recommend going back to catch up – we published a new Service Portal Lookbook, a new ServiceNow Tips eBook and a HR Leadership Survey by BusinessForward.

Once you’re all caught up, jump into today’s blog, where we are going over how to prepare for your ServiceNow journey, with ServiceNow Workshops (and sometimes, pre-workshops). Then, in case that’s not enough, at the end download our AVA eBook to make sure you’re avoiding other common ServiceNow mistakes.

Starting ServiceNow from the ground up… Where to begin?

Imagine the excitement of beginning a ServiceNow project!

Conversations with sales teams lead to signing a contract with a partner, and then the next step: workshops!

Workshops are the meetings between you and your ServiceNow partner when your dreams and ideas of how to improve processes at your business take a more solid form of requirements and decisions.

But did you know that in between the contract and the first workshop, there is the opportunity to ensure the success of the workshops with preparation?

As much preparation that can be done before workshops will give us, your partners, the power to fine-tune our focus and approach in the workshops themselves, resulting in a more successful overall engagement experience. Depending on how the pre-workshop sessions are designed, they can also generate excitement and enthusiasm for the teams that will be in the workshops, or even involve team members that are not necessarily needed in workshops but have contributions. 

We know that being asked to have meetings to prepare for workshops can seem confusing, and often clients are concerned that it’s putting the cart before the horse.

We often get the questions: Why is there a need for pre-workshop meetings? If the next step in the project plan is to get everyone in a room to gather requirements anyway, why do we need to provide information before that? Won’t that be a duplication of effort? 

Through the years and over many, many workshops, we have found that having pre-workshop meetings and conversations leads to more actual sessions. Because of those successes, we have made workshop prep meetings a regular part of our project plans. 

Some types of workshop sessions are: 

a. Targeted Group Sessions: These could be for teams that have more complex processes or needs that do not align with other groups that utilize a product/process. Engagements for Service Catalog benefit tremendously from these type workshop preparation meetings. Since a Service Catalog is the place where multiple IT Services combine to present offerings for customers, it helps to have meetings with the individual groups to discuss their services, and what their unique fulfillment processes look like.

This also makes time to focus on that groups that may not be as mature with their catalog, and need more assistance, without taking away from anyone else’s requirements or time. 

 b. Demo of the ServiceNow tool at “Out of the Box” level:  Usually, the only people to have seen the tool before workshops are the Stakeholders or the ones that negotiated and signed a contract. A walk-through demo with the teams that will be using ServiceNow every day as part of their “New Normal,” provides context to the workshops to come.

It can also generate more items to think about and prepare before heading into requirements gathering. This type of meeting has been helpful for teams that have never used an ITSM system and may have a lot of apprehension about the unknown. 

 How to Prepare

As experts in walking customers through requirements gathering, we have identified ways of working with our partners to help them prepare for workshops: 

a. Workshop Preparation Documents: Depending on the engagement, there are documents we provide to our partners to manage expectations of the information needed for workshops, as well and provide details of what will be happening in the workshops.  These can be the proposed agenda for upcoming workshops, the recommended attendees, or what information Acorio will be looking to discuss and collect.

Usually, any documentation sent to a partner before a workshop is talked through in a meeting, to ensure there aren’t any questions or clarifications needed.

b. Conference Calls: Usually a series of Web Conference Calls are set up a week or two before onsite Workshops.  The topics and/or purposes are different, depending on the objective of the engagement. The output of those calls can range from already having requirements identified, to even having some risks talked about.

In the instance of an Incident Management workshop, there could be meetings to discuss categorization of Incident records.

Knowing what method of classification will be used allows us to incorporate that in the overall process in the workshop, which in turn saves time that has been spent on one detail, taking away from other important discussion points. Web Conference Calls to identify what is needed for specific Process/Product.

What to Prepare?

The specifics on what should be prepared before workshops again vary, depending on the type of engagements. The facilitators of Acorio-led workshops, usually Business Process Consultants, will explain and provide what they would like to have before workshops. 

Take Human Resources Service Delivery (HRSD) for example. Human Resource departments provide so many different services to employees, that trying to capture all of it in one or two days of workshops would be rushed and would take time away from defining other crucial parts of the Case Management process. Having meetings to walk through how we are going to approach each aspect of HRSD, having a walk-through of how case management process looks in ServiceNow, a meeting to discuss what data should comprise a HR profile are some of the meetings that would lead workshops. 

Another series of workshops that benefit from preparation is for the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). While workshops will focus on how to organize your configuration items and define the relationships between them, it is important to head into those meetings knowing what types of configuration items are going to be part of the project. This would be accomplished with a web conference to explain what type of data to gather; and how it plays into the overall CMDB implementation. You would be able to meet with your team and must identify the configuration items. Imagine walking into workshops having that information ready to go! 

Are there any downsides to working on things before workshops?

Not at all!

In fact, we have found that one of the most frequent questions in workshops is, “I wish I knew that before today (at the workshop), then we could have brought that with us!” Having workshop preparation meetings not only allows to move detail definition out of workshops, but it also minimizes the risk of missed opportunities, missing data, and even missing people! 

See a Change Management workshop in action

In preparation for a Change Management workshop, we asked a customer to provide their current change process. What we received, instead was not a change process. In fact, what we identified was that they were conflating change management with problem management. Because we saw this before workshops, we were able to realign with the customer, have a series of meetings to determine which process was a higher priority to focus on in the workshops. If we had waited until workshops to ask about their current change process, it would have stopped the workshops, and we would have needed time to regroup, and lost that personal interaction time with the customer. 

Workshops can also raise the anxiety and concern of those that will be the object of the changed systems. Unfortunately, this presents in workshops, and the results are harmful to the success of the project. People unwilling to discuss the process, not wanting to cooperate or make time for the workshops are all signals of challenges awaiting the success of a project.

Pre-workshop meetings work to mitigate this hurdle two ways. It gives those that have concerns a voice earlier in the process. This, in turn, allows your Acorio partner to identify those concerns, and provide answers earlier on while knowing where possible risks may be. Having that transparency has won over some of our most challenging customers, and become champions of ServiceNow. 

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While he may have been speaking about fire safety, it also applies to ServiceNow implementation workshops and projects.  Franklin was advising on the risks of moving heated coals from one room to another, and not being mindful of any falling pieces, which could possibly cause a fire later on.

Not taking the time to go over workshop agendas, and review data needed for requirements may not cause problems in the workshops themselves, but in the middle of the project when that data is missing, or a gap in requirements is identified, it becomes a fire of urgency to scramble and possibly not be as accurate or miss project deadlines. Take the time at the beginning of a project and be prepared to be amazed at your successful ServiceNow workshops!  

12 Days of Giving isn’t over yet…

So what exactly are we giving you today, to help you stay on the straight and narrow during your ServiceNow implementation? What about our Acorio Virtual Assistance eBook?

Download it now to discover the five most common mistakes during the ServiceNow journey (and how to avoid them!). From choosing your ServiceNow partner to asking the right questions and prepping for workshops, this eBook is packed full of tips to make your implementation a success.

Download AVA eBook

Continue Reading