“Where Do I Start”? Best Practices for Starting a Permit Guide Implementation

Written by Matt Koehler, Camino Implementation Manager

“Where Do I Start”?

One of the most important questions in deciding to implement a Permit Guide can also be one of the most inhibiting for new customers – where do I begin? Permit Center staff around the country have never been busier or as short-staffed as they are today. They handle requests and inquiries on projects ranging from new residential builds, improvements to existing homes, commercial development, to even fielding questions around special event permitting during the summer months.

Public expectations for staff to provide timely responses has not declined and the increasingly rapid move to digital service delivery has trained citizens to expect more of their interactions with government to be available online. A system like the Camino Permit Guide can help reduce inbound questions by 30% but if you can’t make time to build it, what good does that do?

While it’s a challenge to make time to implement any new system, here are 3 ways you can consider how to approach your own Permit Guide implementation based on your agency’s specific situation and goals.

Target High-Impact Projects

The first common approach is to target specific projects that will have the most impact for your organization. In other words, which projects are you getting the most foot, phone, and email traffic for into your Permit Center? Consider which projects you would stand to gain the most time back from if you were able to automate the back and forth with your customers. That’s a great place to start the Camino Permit Guide.

Implementations taking this laser-focused approach on their most commonly asked about projects are a good option for projects seeking quick results. Camino customers do not need every project type built into Camino before they go-live with it and start to see benefits. These setups are self-paced and agencies typically launch a handful of projects to start with while, over the long term, rolling out the rest of their projects into the guide over time.

Target the Most Complex Projects

The second common approach is to target the most complex projects first. This is similar to implementing for impact, except that customers will tackle projects with the most considerations, exceptions, and stakeholders first. To understand if this approach makes sense for your agency, ask yourself if there are projects you are often asked about that you need to consistently do more research or follow ups on. Are there projects where staff often overlook details because there’s so much to remember? Camino’s Permit Guide can help with that by allowing you to build the relevant responses into Camino and create automation rules so that the system can provide accurate information based on the applicant’s responses to questions and the GIS details of their parcel. This implementation approach is also good for shorter timelines and projects looking for quick wins. The focus of the project is to understand all the subtle details and outcomes around the complex projects. Go-live is usually on a rolling basis as projects are built. Over time, the projects will be increasingly easier to set up in Camino as the complex ones will have been tackled first. 

Implement a Full Guide with All Project Types

The third common approach is to implement a full guide with every permit type included at go-live. This is for agencies who have more time to work on the implementation during work hours. Typically, full guide implementations have longer timelines because there is more to build and test before exposing the Permit Guide to the public. One of the risks of longer term projects is that without smaller wins sprinkled throughout, the project momentum can be lost due to various factors both externally and internally of the project team. To sustain that momentum, agencies should consider breaking the project into smaller phases. A full Permit Guide is a very large deliverable so agencies that follow this approach are encouraged to use the Camino Implementation Success Plan to track tasks and keep the project organized. The focus of full Permit Guide implementations tends to be around completeness where success is measured by how thorough the conversion to Camino is.

Ongoing Support

However you decide to approach your Camino Permit Guide implementation, you will have access to support from your Camino Implementation Manager and Customer Success Manager. They can advise and assist you on how best to approach your project and provide examples of how other customers with similar needs have been successful. Camino is a living system, meaning that it is designed to evolve alongside your organization.