ServiceNow Roadmap Strategy Panel Takeaways
In the spirit of the collaborative nature the ServiceNow community is known for, VividCharts set out to facilitate a roundtable discussion between two mature ServiceNow customers (and VividCharts customers 😄), Huntington National Bank and Southwest Airlines.
- Amanda Crider - Business Systems Analyst Lead - Huntington National Bank
- Dan Becker - Business Systems Analyst Lead - Huntington National Bank
- Patrick Dietzel - ServiceNow Delivery Manager - Huntington National Bank
- Ed Gowens - Senior Product Owner, ServiceNow - Southwest Airlines
- Jonathan Bledsoe - ServiceNow Development Lead - Southwest Airlines
We are very thankful for these panelists and the knowledge that they shared with us. Hundreds of guests attended live, asking great questions and raving about how insightful it was. For those that weren’t able to attend live, this post will outline the top 3 takeaways for you, and actionable insights within each.
You can also review the recording on LinkedIn at any time.
What were the goals of the panel:
- Share real perspectives on how to manage a ServiceNow Roadmap
- Share real processes and learnings from mistakes and successes
- Share real approaches on how to take in and evaluate stakeholder requests, and prioritize and plan delivery efficiently
A quote came out of this discussion that does an excellent job of framing the actionable takeaways from the panel.
“Make the process as easy as possible. Everything in service management has to be approached from people and process first, and technology last. If you can’t get the first two right, the technology doesn't matter.” - Jonathan Bledsoe
1. Make the stakeholder engagement process simple, and invest in relationships between stakeholders and your teams
You have to create good relationships with customers to truly learn what they need out of the ServiceNow platform. A defined team structure and system to input new ideas and feedback helps with this.
However, sometimes customers won’t use your system of feedback. Building confidence in the system should be an ongoing aspiration, but totally constraining customers to formal channels did not sound like the consensus best practice from the panel. Here are some of proactive steps they shared that can help you to build great relationships with your customers:
- Create a community program to facilitate engagement and make things easier for everyone
- Build excitement around the process by naming specific ambassadors, champions, etc. from each team to provide good, consolidated feedback
- Have internal processes defined to translate feedback from these less formal intake channels into actionable work items
Here is another great quote from the panel that can help guide how you approach customer relationships, and strike a balance between formal and less formal intake channels:
“If we ask for everyones opinion it will never get done, so we need to have advocates embedded in teams.”
The panelists also shared some actionable advice on the best practices when you are in a discussion with a customer advocate/group.
- Start with the problem. Ask “what problem are you trying to solve?” If they can't tell you, then there might not be an issue at all.
- Look for related problems. “A lot of times we can solve multiple needs with one solution.” Don’t take a problem at face value, keep probing to see if there are related problems that could also be addressed.
- Ask for business requirements. They may not be drafted in the exact right format, but they make a great starting point and can lead to a much higher value discussion.
2. Keep roadmaps up to date, and use consistent dialogue and defined business drivers to help with prioritization
Set a cadence in which you review the roadmap for various customer groups with your internal teams to keep everything up to date. Have a similar cadence with key stakeholders from the customer groups to keep them informed, and to have proactive dialogue around prioritization. This is another area where defined champions/ambassadors can add efficiency to the process.
2 actionable insights around prioritization were shared:
- Define your business drivers - Amanda from Huntington recommended defining a set of specific business drivers to use as guardrails that every single story has to fall in.
- Make stakeholders prioritize together - Ed from Southwest shared that sometimes when they have to prioritize across different customer groups, sometimes it’s best to get everyone in the same discussion and have the stakeholders themselves work out what should truly take priority.
3. Automate as much as possible while investing in the reporting process
Dan from Huntington shared how important it is to constantly look for ways to automate the roadmap process. It can be a lot of manual work, but that can pave the way for a more automated process.
By creating a visual that suits the discussion, it can show you the different ways you need to manage and classify data in order to report effectively.
Ed spoke about the growing appetite for data and reporting as the ServiceNow footprint, and the range of customer groups it supports, expands over time. Serving up data and reports for your customer groups to slice and dice strengthens your relationship, and finding automated ways to serve data and insights up is crucial in order to keep focus on iteration.
Showing value back is an accelerator. “The more value we see and more cost savings that we have allow us to reinvest in the platform to leverage the other apps that ServiceNow offers and take advantage of the platform.” Patrick from Huntington shared.
Jonathan recommended establishing KPI’s before the project to make it easier to come back and see why certain things worked, didn’t work, and identify potential improvements for the next time.
Every organization is different, but a discussion like this truly shows how common our challenges tend to be. We can definitely relate to this at VividCharts. We provide visuals and engagement layers that can be configured to accommodate a wide variety of company needs, but we continue to see so much in common when it comes to the problem we are actually trying to solve with the customer.
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