Are you a stakeholder, project team member, or user of an enterprise software solution? If so, I’m confident you’ll find this 4-minute read about building user advocacy & improving user satisfaction valuable.
In this blog post I will be discussing:
- What to expect after the initial rollout and how to prepare for it.
- What is a Solution Change Management Plan and how it will help.
- What to include within your Solution Change Management Plan
- “Top 10” Best Practices for Driving User Adoption and Advocacy.
Congratulations, your implementation project is done. Time to celebrate! But make it a quick celebration because your job isn’t done – it’s just changed.
- Users are now onboard and expect a supremely helpful solution.
- You’ve transitioned from managing a project to managing a post implementation sustainability program.
The goal now is to optimize the solution and drive user satisfaction. Your challenge will be meeting that goal within an environment bombarded with change:
- Business strategies change.
- Organizations change.
- Processes change.
- Software platforms change.
- Users change.
There will be a constant flow of user service and solution change requests arriving at your doorstep. A solid change control and governance process is a must! So, what’s my advice? Develop a Solution Change Management Plan and stick to it!
Solution Change Management Plan
Let’s first unpack the goals, objectives, components, and scope of a Solution Change Management Plan.
- Build and nurture stakeholder, project team and user advocacy.
- Drive user adoption.
- Maximize user satisfaction.
- Enhance, expand, and support the solution.
- Engage, enable, and support the users.
- Maximize operational efficiency.
- Solution and user service delivery model.
- Governance & compliance policies.
- Standard operating procedures.
- Solution Centric Activities: enhancement releases, expansion projects, maintenance & administration, and solution support
- User Centric Activities: user support, communications, and ongoing training.
What I’ve Learned
I have been advising enterprise marketing organizations for over 25 years. And, over these years, I have learned that that there are two primary root causes for poor user adoption:
#1 The solution was not supremely helpful to the users.
Supremely helpful sounds like an unrealistic expectation. But it shouldn’t be. Supremely helpful means one cannot imagine doing their job without it. For example, as most people do, I consider my iPhone to be supremely helpful. I can’t imagine being productive at my job or managing my personal activities without it.
#2 Inadequate planning and readiness for post implementation operations specific to:
- Solution Change Management Plan
- Change Control & Governance
- Service Delivery Resources
With that said, let’s now discuss my “top 10” recommendations.
10 Best Practices for Driving User Adoption & Advocacy
#1 – Be proactive not reactive. Develop a Solution Change Management Plan. Start once your initiative has been approved. Don’t wait until after rollout. Begin thinking about advocacy and adoption day one. If your solution has already been rolled out and you do not have one, make it a #1 priority.
#2 – Identify a team of User Advocates (Change Agents). The team should include the key business stakeholders and key SME’s. Their responsibilities should include:
- Sharing program progress to the user community
- Capturing feedback from the key users
- Sharing user feedback with the program team.
#3 – Conduct user advocacy checkpoints during the implementation project to monitor awareness, understanding and buy-in from:
- Project Team Members
- Key SME’s
- Key Users
Conduct these user advocacy checkpoints following:
- Project Kickoff
- Requirements Specification
- Prototyping Workshops
- User Acceptance Testing
Determine if you need to address any issues before moving forward. Measure twice and cut once.
#4 – Define and execute communication tactics to
- Share progress with your project team, stakeholders & users
- Capture their feedback. Bi-directional communication creates a sense of ownership & empowerment. And that’s the fuel you’ll need to propel you throughout your entire journey.
#5 – Develop and execute training programs
- Prior to Requirements gathering workshops,
- During user acceptance testing,
- Following rollout
- Throughout the run state program.
#6 – Conduct the user adoption checkpoints throughout the run state sustainability program. The objectives are to:
- Assess user sentiment.
- Identify improvement opportunities.
- Optimize the solution (if required).
- Enhance training & communication programs (if required).
#7 – Design, implement and activate a user support model. The objective is to:
- Ensure your users receive timely and reliable support during (1) user acceptance testing, (2) rollout and (3) throughout the run state program.
- Ensure your support infrastructure and tools can capture data to (1) provide ticket status insights, (2) identify issue trends, (3) identify solution improvement opportunities and (4) identify user experience improvement opportunities.
#8 – Implement change control policies and procedures. The objectives are to:
- Prioritize change requests.
- Assign change requests to the correct team (or put on pause).
- Ensure users are aware of the solution changes.
- Ensure the users receive training about the deployed changes.
#9 – Conduct run state governance audits. The objectives are to:
- Monitor policy and procedure adherence.
- Determine if your support, implementation, or training teams need additional run state compliance training.
#10 – Periodically Update your Solution Change Management Plan as required. It is a living document. It needs to evolve through the life of your run state program.
About the Author
Chris Kahler Sr. has over 25 years of experience helping enterprise marketing organizations plan, implement, and manage their post-implementation sustainability and optimization programs. In August 2003 Chris founded EMMcare and led the company to become a leading Marketing Resource Management consulting and solution management provider. In 2014 EMMcare and MarketSphere merged to become EMMsphere. Chris is currently EMMsphere’s Chief Development Officer and resides in Winston-Salem North Carolina.
EMMsphere provides marketing solution management services for enterprise marketing organizations. Our expertise is concentrated in work, content, and marketing performance solutions for marketing teams. EMMsphere’s end-to-end service delivery capabilities include advisory, implementation and post-implementation managed services. We understand it’s not about the technology, it’s about keeping your business, solution, and users in perfect alignment.