Big projects and the elephant in the room

Nick Chivers December 11, 2018
Elephant with a rider

Q: How do you get down from an elephant? A: You don’t get down from an elephant; you get down from a duck. Pun or metaphysics? Stuck atop the elephant, can a mind shift get us closer to the ground?

As a Senior Solution Consultant and contributor to sales and services at ActiveDocs for over 12 years, I enjoy a lot of interaction with teams at the coalface of document automation, designing and deploying solutions in which our ActiveDocs suite plays a key role.

In a previous post, I mentioned the principle of not biting off more than one can chew. Experience says that a reliable way to jeopardize a project is to make it too big.

Document automation projects can go big, albeit for the best possible reasons. You have a clear driver to improve specific documents but once you start looking at other documents in that area of the business, there is no end of candidates.

Then, word gets around. Other areas of the business have been tolerating less-than-ideal documents. How can you turn them down? You know ActiveDocs can help you achieve great things. You will have teams in place, and while they are current and focused, they will do great things.

So stand up. Be a hero. Fix everything. Be proactive. Show some initiative and add some business process re-engineering before someone else does.

Well, there goes the scope and there is your elephant. Time to find a way down.

Proofs of concept, pilot projects, staged rollouts. These proven strategies empower change without exceeding the capacity of the business to absorb it, and allow project teams to be agile and adaptive. Set up for success and plan big or small projects without big bangs.

Our training syllabus covers how to identify candidate document types, determine their automation needs, and deploy the appropriate features of our product. We also emphasize product features that avoid the where-do-we-start syndrome.

For example, if you are already using Word templates – with macros or just markup – you could load these as-is into ActiveDocs and use it to serve them to the business. This improves business processes immediately by providing centralized management and maintenance, and by ensuring everyone gets the latest versions. Then, proceed with the automation via a stepwise and prioritized schedule.

ActiveDocs allows you to add and adapt automation without figuring it all out in advance. The concept is simple enough and the benefits are obvious, yet who else gets it? We never stop listening to our customers and our own service teams and these are the lessons they teach us.

Make it easy to share elements like common content, business rules, and access to data. At the same time, recognize that projects may not start with all of those in place, that those in place will change, and that new candidates will show up further down the track. Allow for rolling improvements and just make it easier to adjust and retrofit shared standards as they evolve.

There is a lot more to show and tell. We look forward to engaging with you and discussing how we can help you get down off your elephant.

 
 
About the Author

Nick Chivers

Senior Solution Consultant

Nick is an IT industry veteran with an eye for detail and a passion for doing things better. He’s been with us for 12 years and along with thought leadership has helped bring ActiveDocs products and services to many of our global customer base.

 
 
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