“Some clients ask me for a boat. What they really need is to cross a river.” – Ronald Shakespear
At the beginning of the project, it is your responsibility as a Project Manager to help your customer understand what he/she exactly wants. This can be done by asking the right questions. Watch out! Your customers may identify the real needs after being asked the right questions.
Here are the 5 questions that will lead to the success of your project:
1. Who is responsible?
It is important to know:
- Who is the Project Sponsor?
- Who is the reviewer of the Storyboard and Course?
- Who will sign-off the project?
Ask such questions at the beginning of the project and work accordingly.
Imagine that you have discussed with John regarding the development of Storyboard and it took three weeks to develop the Storyboard. After you sent the Storyboard for review, then if you realize that the actual reviewer is James. How do you feel? There are chances that all your team’s work could be wasted as you don’t know what James wants and what he is looking for.
If you had known that it would be James who would review the storyboard, then you could have taken the efforts to know what he is looking for and what would interest him and develop the Storyboard accordingly.
2. What are the business objectives?
Ask this question to understand the business objectives of the customer and how eLearning would help in meeting them.
Your customer may say, “I want to increase the sale of my product”. You can design the courses that their sales representatives can use. The effectiveness of training can be measured by assessing the sales figures of the product after educating the sales representatives.
3. What do you expect people to do after taking this course?
I would like to share my views with the help of a Case study. I worked with one of my customers on Process Training. As the employees in that organization are not completely aware of the Procurement Process, the helpdesk team received many queries via e-mail and calls every day. Hence, one of the parameters for measuring the success of this eLearning course is to see whether there is a rise or fall in queries that the helpdesk team received from the end users after taking the course.
4. When are they planning to launch this eLearning Course?
Always ask your customer about the deadline/launch date of the course even at the beginning of the Project. Based on the timeline, you can define your approach.
Let’s consider this case. You developed a project plan without ascertaining the deadline of the project. There are all chances that the customer rejects the course because it does not meet his launch date. Hence always make it a point to ask about the deadline to the customer even before drafting the plan.
5. Who are the target audience?
It is really important to know who are going to take the course.
- Are they computer savvy?
- Are they adults?
- Are they white-collared or blue-collared employees?
Your instructional strategy would depend on your target audience.
Let me share an example. I worked for one of my customers who were into the manufacturing sector. The target audience of the course are Indian Manufacturing unit employees. As the target audience are not computer savvy, we did not include many interactivities in the course. Also we made sure that we include minimal on-screen text with appropriate images. Wherever real people images had to be used, we made sure we used Indian people images so that the end user would relate and connect easily.
As an eLearning Project Manager, I ask these 5 Questions to all my customers at the beginning of the project. What are the questions that you ask your customers? I’d love to hear from you.