While our previous posts usually demonstrate technical tips showing you how to get the most value from SIMUL8; highlighting specific features within the software, this week we thought we’d try something a little different.
Revisiting a previous newsletter, we thought we’d help you with the difficult part of assuring others of the value of your simulation – so this Friday’s Tip has a ‘softer touch’, if you will, giving you a ‘how to’ on convincing others, once you’ve been convinced.
We’ve decided to dedicate this Friday Tip to offer some learning points from consultancy work we have undertaken in the past on how best to handle this somewhat tricky task.
Get People Involved Early
In fact the earlier the better! Most projects have their mix of supporters, doubters, and opponents. First hint: identify who fits in to which category as each will require their own style of management.
Involving each of these groups at the very beginning of the process can make life throughout the project, and in presenting the results, a lot easier. Some of the most successful organizations we work with make a specific point of inviting all parties along to a Simulation Specification Meeting to agree the output required and ensure all parties interests and buy-in is assured.
Keep them updated as to progress
For shorter term projects it isn’t always practical to deliver formal reports, but even in these cases setting up a kick-off/goal meeting and then providing timely updates of progress can be useful. In our experience much of this is simple stakeholder management, but you can also get some interesting feedback, generating discussion and interest, helping to convert potential opponents in to supporters.
Allow all to contribute to building the simulation
OK, this is risky. Allowing everyone to throw their thoughts at you can get confusing, even provide contradiction, and potentially generate more work in building the simulation. However, the benefit of allowing each stakeholder to feel they have contributed, and dealing with objections and contradictions as the project evolves, means that the presentation of results will be focused on the output, conclusions and potential actions, rather than on the detail of the input.
This stage of the process is best carried out independently, on a one-to-one basis, although potentially time consuming it will reap its rewards. SIMUL8 Professional can save some time in this by allowing you to distribute the simulation via the SIMUL8 Viewer, or YouSIMUL8 and it’s particularly useful for keeping the supporters on side while you manage the opponents face-to-face.
Present a convincing and credible conclusion
For your conclusion to be accepted it’s crucial to present your simulation in a professional manner, that means making sure there are very little obstacles. Professionalism comes both from how your simulation looks and also how you communicate it to others (YouSIMUL8 is not only helpful for distributing your simulation – but you can get some great inspiration on how to create impressive simulations).
When choosing a style it’s important to remember your audience. High level decision makers will probably prefer a simplified overview display, perhaps in the style of a flowchart. Those closer to the process will probably prefer a more real life animated display.
Again, depending on your audience different levels of detail will be most appropriate. Many high level decision makers do not want to know the intrinsic detail of the Visual Logic involved or the inputs being used. While analysts may wish to understand every aspect of the simulation. It’s best to work out a script to present your simulation. This way you can work out in advance the right level of detail and the most clear way to demonstrate the key learning points from the simulation.
The relevant importance of each of the above stages is really down to the culture of the organization you work within, the organization’s experience of the benefits of simulation and your particular style of working. However, in our experience, at least considering each of these points should help deliver even more successful simulations in the future.