Referring back to our very first post, where we mentioned that a diagnostic can make or break a project or venture, let’s take a better look at the questions you need to answer with regards to a diagnostic.
The first thing you might be asking is, “What exactly is a diagnostic? It is a paid engagement to help provide answers to help your organization find a solution. A diagnosis will help you when you are ready to pick a product, project, or when you want to install a program or implement a new website. Before you can get approval to move forward with your project, you need a price and a contract which contains: blueprints, scope of work and requirements. Without these key pieces, you won’t know what kind of situation you are getting into. A CFO, COO, and CEO should know a few details of what a solution may require but no numbers or definite conditions or requirements. Furthermore, you cannot get a quote from a firm or a company without detailed specs. Consider a diagnostic a “decision accelerator!”
What is the recipe for a diagnostic? A good diagnostic has:
- Requirements confirmation,
- Fit-gap (to illustrate how closely the solution in question addresses your needs),
- Solution design,
- Proof of concept, (demo of the proposed solution)
- Business Case (outlining the costs, benefits up front and on going)
- Statement of work.
A great example: if you want to get your ERP or CRM project approved, a diagnostic allows you to hire a consultant to flush out a proposed system design to establish what the missing pieces are and propose a solution that supports your decision to proceed with the project leading to the best possible fit/outcome. In short, most reputable partners will not supply a quote or estimate without knowing all of the elements of a diagnostic already in place, particularly because no client wants to move through a project that is littered with change-orders leading to an escalation in unplanned expenses. Change-orders are usually the result of a lack of detailed scope of requirements and are absolutely avoidable.
When do you need to perform a diagnostic? Right after your organization has decided what product or service you want, but have not fully explored specific needs and solution details. Before your approval to proceed. What is it? Paid engagement to get your partner to sit down with stakeholders and key subject matter experts/companies to flush out solution options and details.
Why conduct a diagnostic? There is the traditional approach to project development and implementation: Where you already know your project requirements, then take it to the open market to review candidate products, select what you at the time deem to be the best suitor, they then build a solution on the selected software platforms. Using this approach, the client usually must wait many months to find out how good a fit it is for the organization as well as the economic impact of the solution.
The Diagnostic is an innovative approach: it mitigates project risks, presents a more refined and targeted upfront process before the client purchases software and commits valuable resources on their implementation budget. The result; the client knows the economic impact of the project PRIOR to signing a statement of work to implement the solution.