Dig Deep to Understand the True Requirements in AVT Projects
Written by: David Allara
I would like to share with you my real-life experience about the importance of consulting with the right people and “Digging Deep” to understand the true requirements when developing a design for a new AV solution.
The “Surface Level” AV scope of works
konnectus was a member of the greater design team that helped to deliver an expansion and refurbishment of the facilities at the Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium (MPCC) in Sydney. The project ran for almost three years and the final stage was successfully delivered in mid-2018, The scope of works included the addition of a new chapel, a new outdoor pavilion, a new state of the art function centre, the upgrade of the three existing large chapels, and the upgrade of the existing administration building.
As with all projects we began with the Needs Analysis and Discovery process with MPCC. In this initial phase of a project the konnectus team aims to gather as much information as we can about the organisation, and the people that will be ultimately using any new AV systems and solutions. In this project we discovered a couple of key things that were important – especially for the four chapels and the outdoor pavilion. Firstly, all the existing AV equipment was outdated and analogue. MPCC were very clear about wanting to upgrade everything to modern digital systems. Secondly, MPCC had identified a new revenue stream for the business, which relied heavily on investing in specific new AV systems. They wanted to be able to offer their customers the ability to view a funeral service live or on demand via an online web portal.
Digging Deeper to understand the “True Requirements”
When we learned about the significant planned changes we immediately wanted to dig deeper. A complete upgrade from analogue to digital would signify a change in workflows for the people operating the AV systems during a service. We wanted to speak with them and collaborate on outcomes that they would be happy with. The additional revenue stream also required a deeper understanding from all parties. What quality of streaming/on demand did MPCC want to make available to its customers? What uptake of this service were MPCC expecting from customers in the short/medium/long term? What would be the implications to IT networks?
Initially, when we expressed the need to spend time understanding the true requirements at a deeper level, we were met with quite a bit of resistance from various members of the wider project team. “There is no time in the project programme for this” or “you are the experts, just design what you think they need” were the two most notable objections we received. I had heard these many times before and knew that I would be doing MPCC and the overall project a disservice by giving in. Rather than giving in though I requested a short meeting with the heads of the business and the three most experienced operators of the AV systems. In making my request I explained that the meeting would not take long, and the agenda would be a high-level overview of the AV designs that konnectus was proposing. However, I actually used the meeting to start to dig deeper and uncover the true requirements. The more questions I asked, the more meaningful topics of discussion we had, and the more all parties realised the true value of the process.
Additional time invested leads to a great outcome for MPCC
That meeting only ran one hour but it created the opportunity to hold multiple successful workshops with various key stakeholders from MPCC. In those sessions we were able to uncover the true requirements and issues that the new AV solutions needed to solve. It is fair to say that had we not had the opportunity to dig deeper, konnectus would have delivered AV solutions to MPCC that did not meet their requirements. This obviously would have been a disastrous outcome for all parties.
The key takeaway from this experience with MPCC is to remember to not take the seemingly fast and easy path by staying surface level. Insist on spending the time to dig down to the deeper levels with customers to truly understand their needs, requirements, and issues. The discipline to follow this method will always guarantee the best AV solution for every situation.