Wrapping Your Head Around Software Decisions
There are some nonprofit executives that I visit with that are bit overconfident when it comes to their software decision making ability. They tend to think that they can “google” their way to the best fit. Or, simply call a friend to secure a good software choice. While certainly that may be true for some rare situations, the overwhelming majority of software buyers cannot.
In fact, choosing the best CRM software to help your non-profit thrive is no easy task. It allows for no margin for error, it impacts so many stakeholders in your nonprofit, and it’s usually tacked onto your to do list with little reward. Further, to add insult to injury, the most frightening outcome of this choice is that it can stick with you for years and years after the selection has been made. This is why it may be wise to use a systematic approach like the highly successful WRAP method developed by Chip and Dan Heath to help find your best software fit. In this article, we take a quick look at how the “WRAP” approach may be put into practice.
Widen Your Nonprofit Software Thoughts and Options
The first step of the wrap method is to widen your viewpoint. Narrow framing may lead us to overlook options. I have found that many nonprofit executives pigeon hole their decisions with “whether or not” thinking . In contrast, widening your approach, you are able to uncover new options. And, when possible, you may consider options simultaneously through multitracking. In other words, Think AND not OR.
As written before, it’s important to evaluate your software needs and requirements before going out to “demo” products aimlessly. Early on in the software selection project, it’s important to widen your discovery and open your perspective to all the important use cases which you may be dealing with now and want to be able to do better in the future.
For software selection projects, “widen” may simply mean being open minded to the fact that you should consider all your issues and don’t limit your mind when you begin the software search.
Reality Test Your CRM Software
The best thing you can do for any idea is to put it to the test. Many ideas and software decisions too get considered only hypothetically before being implemented, but nothing is more reliable than past experience.
Therefore, using this approach in the software selection process, begins with testing to a certain degree that your issues are grounded in truth before “drop kicking” what you have in place now. Further, I encourage my clients (regardless of size) to try out the software and solutions in a small-scale to see if they work in the real world before commitment.
Further, testing your options might be achieved through a proof of concept situation where the vendor creates a solution to address your primary use cases with core functionality.
Testing your issues, doing a trial version of the software, and a proof of concept lets you see and feel how a software can help solve your problems instead of relying on a sales pitches. Certainly, these options are not something you do to start the search, but when placed correctly in the process tends to add a tremendous amount of value.
Attain Distance in Software Decisions
This may be difficult for some and very easy for others. Attaining distance is a powerful step to take as it challenges your own confirmation bias. Here, it is recommended to take a step back and ask one simple question, if someone else had your same needs, what would you recommend they do.
In software decision-making, this means looking at the solutions you are using (or considering) and deciding if you would tell others non-profits to use the same things. This simple question adds objectivity to your thinking, and it can help you see if a software feature or issue might be causing more trouble than it is worth.
For most of us, short-term emotion tempts us to make choices that are bad in the long term. To avoid that, it is advised that we attain some distance by shifting perspective.
The next time you are faced with a software decision of any sort ask yourself, “What would I tell my best friend to do? Or, what would my successor do?”
Prepare to be Wrong in Your Software Choice
The final step of the WRAP process is used to help you prepare for failure and/or success.
In the event your software is not succeeding, you may need to consider other solutions that can help feed or support your growth. In order to know if your software is a failure, you must have clear goals or metric for which you can evaluate your software to see if it is truly meeting your needs.
Further, if a software is failing, it is important to have a plan B or at least a support contract for further development. The key to this step is to remember that no decision is irreversible, and we can use failures to learn. Even if simply you know how to walk away from it.
It’s prudent that we should prepare for bad outcomes (premortem) as well as good ones. And what would make us reconsider our decisions before making a software decision.
Wrapping up, if you need help in your software search, check out and download our guide below.