The University of Michigan Works Visually
Reading time: about 4 min
Posted by: Joel Bangerter
With nearly 30,000 undergraduates, the University of Michigan graduates thousands of students each year. Needless to say, this keeps the university’s Alumni Association busy. To provide each alum with optimum service, employees of the Alumni Association need to operate efficiently—this is where Bilal Muta, a CRM Admin for the Alumni Association for the University of Michigan, comes in.
As a leading member of the new development team, Bilal connects his co-workers with the technology they need to succeed:
“Typically speaking, most of our stakeholders don’t have a strong technical acumen regarding what the actual solution looks like,” says Bilal. “They have a vision, and we know how we want to interact with our alumni, so our department is tasked to take that vision and turn it into a set of technical requirements.”
As Bilal’s team identifies these requirements, finds software solutions, and implements new software into the workplace, it is crucial that the stakeholders are on board and up to date—Bilal uses Lucidchart to make it happen.
Breaking down complex processes
As Bilal’s team implements new technologies into the work environment, their clients—other employees of the Alumni Association—need to be involved in the process. They are, after all, the ones who will use the new technology. To keep everyone on the same page throughout the process, Bilal relies on visualization. “We use Lucid as a way to take something that can be really complex or technical and try to simplify it in the best way possible—or at least make it easy to follow,” he explains.
Using process maps and other visuals, Bilal is able to communicate exactly how and why certain technical requirements will be met—even to stakeholders who aren’t well versed in tech.
Prior to using Lucidchart, any in-depth technical discussion was one-sided; stakeholders’ eyes would glaze over as soon as detailed ramifications were discussed. Presenting the information visually has increased understanding on both sides, ultimately helping the new development team get buy-in from stakeholders.
Establishing consistent, streamlined communication
Within the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, teams tend to be siloed, making it difficult to maintain consistent workflows across the organization. By virtue of their responsibilities, Bilal and his team constantly work against these silos. As they assisted employees and teams throughout the Alumni Association, there was no standard approach—everyone communicated via different channels, even on Bilal’s team.
“We had folks who were writing out technical requirements in word documents—pages and pages of documents,” recalls Bilal. “Other folks were drawing something on pen and paper and scanning it in.” Obviously, this wasn’t ideal. When Bilal’s boss challenged him to find a solution, he immediately turned to Lucidchart. “Where I came from before, I had a lot of success with Lucid, so I was already a fan,” explains Bilal. “I was like ‘we can’t move forward without Lucid, so let’s make it happen.’”
Bilal’s team now has an Enterprise license, giving each team member access to all of Lucidchart’s extensive features. As the team fleshes out a process, they share Lucidchart documents internally, collaborating on new iterations together. The final diagram is then presented to stakeholders, either as a PDF in a PowerPoint, or using Lucidchart’s presentation mode.
Using Lucidchart, Bilal and his team standardized the way they communicate with stakeholders. They’ve gone from “a hodgepodge of solutions” to a uniform approach—and when it comes to end results, it’s made all the difference. “Now, I think we’re delivering something that is consistent, streamlined, and professional… It’s a cleaner way to communicate and make sure we’re getting understanding and buy-in,” says Bilal.
Bringing teams together
Lucidchart’s cross-platform functionality makes it the perfect team tool. Any team member, regardless of operating system, can create, share, and collaborate on diagrams with co-workers. At the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, the new development team experienced this firsthand, going from isolated individual solutions to a cohesive team-wide solution.
“For us the selling point was the ease of use, the robustness of the tool, and, ultimately, the ability to bring our team, which was working in so many different silos, into one platform that could be shared as a team,” Bilal says.
With a consistent approach and a collaborative environment, communication with internal staff and stakeholders is simple and effective. Lucidchart enables Bilal's team to break down complex concepts for a non-technical audience, bring stakeholders together, and visualize solutions that are accessible to anyone. What could it do for you?
About the author
Joel Bangerter is a rising sophomore studying English at Johns Hopkins University. Joel is working as a content marketing intern at Lucid Software for the summer. After work, he enjoys reading, camping, and spending time with his dog, Goosey.
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