Winkworth is a franchise that has been established since 1835 and they pride themselves on having a unique perspective on the entire process of matching people with homes. Our Property Business Suite software has been in many of the Winkworth offices and we had always had a good relationship with the I.T. department in Franchising office. Our project with Winkworth Franchising began from a chance conversation with their head of I.T.
Having taken up a new role as Managing Director at Think Fluid I decided to take the plunge and give Wilfred a call. Having had a conversation and speaking about PBS and any software needs Wilfred politely declined.
After about a month or so Wilfred gave me a call and I was not sure why, but was mildly intrigued but also nervous as he may have been calling about an issue at one of his offices! Fortunately, it was a pleasant conversation and he asked me to provide him a quote for a system to be used at the Franchising office. The high level overview was a system that would assist with their CRM and also the day-to-day running of aspects of their business. Naturally we were excited by this project and got working straight away on a proposal.
The First Meeting
The next step was to meet the team and Winkworth and discover what their needs were. I had a meeting with their new business team, who were largely driving this system, and after a productive meeting discovered their high level needs and from this was able to return to the office and create a high level specification document. This document was going well and in the meantime Winkworth were also writing down their processes and we scheduled another meeting to get to the low level requirements.
The Second Meeting - Time for War?
It was not time for a second meeting. When I arrived at their office I was greeted by what seemed to be army battle plans - A1 sheets spread over a large table with different people at different corners of the 'plans'. After a moment I realised I had not been 'drafted' nor was it DEFCON 1 and having been through a series of flowcharts I now had an understanding of the low level requirements of the system.
Accounts step in
The proposal went through a few iterations and was ready to be presented and signed off. It was accepted and the specification solidified and both parties were ready to go. However, just before we were about to start an urgent need from the Winkworth Account's department arose and we were asked to provide a proposal for this system.
After a meeting, not so DEFCON 1 this time, the requirements were a lot simpler and a specification document easier to produce. This was accepted and we got cracking on the system.
Having assembled the team, and provided the scope, designs and timescales we got cracking on the system. Implementation was relatively straight forward as Winkworth were always available to clarify any questions we had. We had to learn some new skills e.g. getting to grips with the Sage database structure which was a challenge, but one we were able to overcome with perseverance. Implementation was successful and we delivered to specification.
User Acceptance Testing
In order to test, the following method was established:
- Upload the data and to the test site and let Franchising verify it based on their expectations from the their process
- Deliver the system to some offices that will be able to test the process and outputs
Testing went well and positive feedback was received.
Launch was well received by the offices and only a few minor changes requested. This showed us that having a good and solid specification, with a project manager/coordinator in both companies enables good foundations to be built upon and a successful system to be delivered.
Thank you very much Winkworth Franchising LTD.