Quality, Innovation & Risk A Look at the BMO Wealth Management Coaching Tool Project

In January, BMO approached Greg with a concept: to build an online coaching resource tool.

The project fell outside of Benchmark's traditional services, but within the spirit of performance-focused design and great learning experiences.

It also challenged how we look at quality, especially with regards to letting our mistakes show, and realizing that delivering a quality product meant relying on an outside vendor.

Quality Question #1:

Is it okay to show your work?

At Benchmark, we're really into quality. So much so, we're loathe to share the rough work. But is there value in letting the quality of the finished product slip so that we can concentrate on the quality of the concept?

We had a few immediate challenges to overcome.

BMO had given us some specific requirements:

The tool had to be easy for managers and employees to find learning resources based on skill deficiencies, and users needed to be able to share a list of up to nine resources with themselves or a recipient...over email.

BMO also needed to see the tool within One Week of the request...without a statement of work having been issued!

We were 90% sure we could accomplish the task, given the tools and skills that we had.

So...we made a decision.

Working towards a pretty solution may not be the best course of action...
We decided to build two rapid prototypes...and concentrate on the quality of the concepts over the quality of optics.

You can see them here:

These concepts were rough as hell.

They weren't pretty. They worked only a little bit.

They didn't have all the content built in.

Did we sacrifice quality too much for this? Would you ever share these with a client?

Quality Question #2:

SHOULD WE EVEN HAVE ACCEPTED THIS WORK? DOES QUALITY MEAN ACCEPTING ONLY THE JOBS THAT WE KNOW WE CAN DO, AND DO WELL?

We quickly ran into problems with the solutions we had created.

Storyline 2

Storyline wasn't cutting it for us. The dimensional constraints of the Storyline output, coupled with the number of variables and how to space the results, insert links into email and not make it look like crap proved that Storyline wasn't the tool to use.

Adobe Muse

Muse was better... but it's a relatively weak tool for building interactions that are meant to provide an output and connect with email. Muse wasn't working. We needed something that could handle more robust JavaScript programming...perhaps Dreamweaver.

Mr. Kozdrowski looks a hell of a lot like Alexander Fleming when he's been up all night programming...

Do we invest in our own skills to build this tool?

Or do we curate available resources, and go outside the Benchmark family to find someone who could create a great learning experience for us to the quality standards that we expect?

Fish or cut bait?
We decided that it was better to go outside of Benchmark...
It would have taken us too long, cost too much, without the assurance that we could actually deliver a useful, good-looking product.

On Steve Blane's recommendation, we reached out to Dan O'Donnell.

Dan agreed to take the project on...

...and this is what he's come up with so far:

Darned if it doesn't work!

So we took a risk...and we got something that the client loves.

But does it add value? Does it really showcase Benchmark quality?

Should we have accepted this job in the first place?

  • We weren't able to meet the quality standards that Benchmark has in place.
  • We had an inkling that we mightn't be able to meet those quality standards, but we thought we'd be able to mitigate the lower initial quality standards to set us on a path to create better products in the future.
After all...our very first GoAnimate videos were...crap.
...but they got a lot better!

what do you think?

Should we have accepted this work, given the risk that Benchmark's quality standards might not have been met?

We're looking forward to talking with you about this next Benchmark Day (April 12th)

Thanks for participating!

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