Managing Change and Updating an Outdated Product Documentation System
This regional telecom company is a quad play market leader, offering cable, high-speed internet, wireless mobile, and standard wireline services.
Strong-Bridge Envision was brought in on a discrete three to four-week product documentation project— to update an outdated classification system and consolidate widespread product information into a single source of truth. However, the engagement would grow to become a nearly 18-month project that completely overhauled the client’s organizational model and data infrastructure.
We kicked off the project by developing a change management framework, wherein the scope, target launch date, impacted audience, and adoption goals were defined. From there, we launched into carefully-planned interviews with stakeholders and subject matter experts where we determined what was important for the revamp, identified potential roadblocks, and captured important product documentation requirements.
After collecting departmental requirements, we began an extensive product mapping exercise to uncover the current state of documentation. Given the spider web of information that existed and the blockers encountered in the flawed documentation process, we could find no way to successfully launch a fully baked product in the desired timeframe. But, we could come up with a plan that would satisfy our client’s needs and be sustainable. We took our findings— along with a plan— to executive leadership, so they could make immediate progress on getting a functional tool in place.
In the first phase, we worked in one department of our client’s business to identify existing product documentation, classify it, and share it back with teams to evaluate and validate. We worked closely with the HR team to define new roles and created training programs and videos that would encourage adoption. From there, we launched a Business Product Library (BPL) accessible, which included:
- Sustainable product classification system
- Advancement of a well-defined maintenance model
- Development of procedural documentation standards
- Solidification of a comprehensive hierarchical taxonomy
- Definitive list of in-market, grandfathered, and archived products and capabilities
Phase two opened this initiative to the entire organization. In this phase, there was pressure to ensure success at the adoption level. We ramped up our readiness campaign, creating a detailed user playbook, a global launch communications strategy, and BPL Posters to be hung in common community areas around the office. We worked hard across multiple departments to create a sunset plan for retiring the old site. After everything was live, we conducted several post-mortem panels and made improvements with that feedback to content quality and process validation, and much more. These continuous improvements not only enrich the user experience but also increase adoption and improve data.
With change, the hardest part can be busting silos and getting people on the same page. With departmental walls comes a lack of transparency and disorganized processes. For our client, aligning people meant a lot of effort in helping everyone understand the project enough to put work into it, and trust it would benefit them. We engaged people, departments, and teams and worked hard to establish a set of communications for all employees. Change is hard; the best way to get it done is to get people on board early and often.