How many of us take a look back at the projects we implemented to see the impact it has made in the lives of those who use the result? Do your users love what you did? Or are they waiting for you to enter a dark alley?
I recently used an IVR of a leading banking service. All I wanted to do was to generate an ATM pin for a new credit card. It took me more than half an hour and several calls to achieve a simple task! Not to mention a significant rise in blood pressure.
First, I was calling from my registered mobile number. But it kept asking me which language I preferred to speak in. I’ve used the IVR to this bank at more than 100 times. I’ve never selected any other language. Is there a role that ML and AI can play here? Or is it something for a more traditional CS approach (Common Sense)?
I can understand the need for security in banking transactions. But even after validating myself, the system took me in frustrating loops. The options were hardly intuitive. The card I was trying to activate was an add-on card. This was never factored into the IVR process. Each time they asked me to enter the card number, I entered the new card number! And it refused to accept my TPIN. Could they not have preset my existing TPIN with the new card number? After all, they have validated several other parameters from me already.
There are so many ways that we can solve such problems. The first step to solve a problem – is to acknowledge it exists. Because if that first step is not done, then there’s no problem to solve.
What was the objective of the project to implement the IVR? To me, it appeared to be just call deflection. Were all the needs of all stakeholders addressed? Were the requirements gathered correctly? Were they comprehensive? What happened to the validation of this service? Several questions like these crossed my mind.
As users of a product or service, do we think about what went into putting together such projects? What would you do differently if you managed it? Are there unmet needs that never got considered in the requirements? It’s no surprise that communication skills is given so much emphasis in project management.
How well are you understanding and then articulating the needs of your stakeholders? The project may be stamped successful. But unless you think beyond what’s expected, your projects may be causing a lot of heartburn. An issue that most organisations don’t even know about. But an issue that can easily be nipped in the bud.
Sometimes, your real stakeholder may not be in the room. Recognize them.
Thanks and Best Wishes
Subramanyam Krishnamurthy (Mani), PMP