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#344: The "Walk-Through"

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, July 08, 2010
What is a good way to increase the odds that my recommendations will be successfully implemented?

Professional service providers are (in)famous for recommending activities, structures or processes that, while logical, may be impractical. Despite the fact that your idea worked spectacularly for every other client, you are right to want to be sure that your recommendations will succeed in a range of scenarios with this client. You want to know in advance what could go wrong and prevent that from happening.

Whether it is a recommendation for an assembly line procedure, a script for a sales call, or a newly proposed method for processing a transaction, the "walk through" is an invaluable tool for testing out any recommendation. Try to model the "real world" environment as closely as possible both physically and psychologically. It can be done through role-play, or an actual run-through in a controlled "live" environment. The walk-through helps you surface problems and opportunities prior to full implementation. It will also test the overall soundness of the recommendations, as well as highlighting:
  • Possibilities for misinterpretation
  • Problems with the flow of the new process
  • Areas where things can be improved
  • Legal or regulatory issues
  • Uncertainties over accountability or responsibility for specific tasks
  • Areas requiring further clarification or training
Tip: You might want to do your first walk through with your consulting team but always include your client team in a final walk through. This makes sure they understand and experience its operation and effects before signing off on its use.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  consulting process  performance improvement  recommendations 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I agree with all above. While a "walk through" may imply revieweing or testing the entire set of recommendations for a client engagement, I'd suggest several interim reviews of compoents of the total recommendations/solutions along the way. This can surface issues, identify addtional factors that need to be considered, and avoid misdirected efforts- early in the engagement. If you waito the very end for a "full walkthrough", you may box yourself into a corner, with insufficient time to modify your recommendations and solutions.
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