After you’ve spent the time reviewing your process, creating a detailed project plan and implementing the application, you still have a major hurdle to overcome. What good is a new system if no one uses it? User adoption shouldn’t be an afterthought: take steps throughout the development process to ensure that team members embrace the new technology.
GET USERS INVOLVED EARLY ON
Often, a small group of executives serve as representatives of the larger organization in process discussions and feature planning. These aren’t necessarily the people who will actually use the tool on a day-to-day basis. To avoid making assumptions, bring in experts in daily operations to ensure that your project plan meets their needs. If you don’t get their input on the current system, you will miss opportunities to adjust your process and make real improvements – and you may find yourself wondering why, when you have this new technology, it is still so difficult to get the job done.
At Ascedia, the development team is involved from the very beginning of a project. We offer a unique perspective because we actually have to make each step of the process work. Developers tend to think in a more granular way and are focused on learning explicitly what will happen at each stage. Having us involved in client conversations early on helps ensure that we uncover any roadblocks before they become a major oversight. Are there areas of your business process where a different perspective could help?
TURN USERS INTO EVANGELISTS
The day-to-day users you identified as part of your process review team can play an even larger role in user adoption. If your implementation plan involves iterative or agile development, you can include them in user testing so that they can provide feedback on a regular basis. This helps them feel more engaged in the process and allows them to see how their input is being implemented.
After development is complete and the application is ready to be rolled out, these users will feel a sense of ownership and responsibility in the success of the program. They can serve as “local experts” and help you reinforce adoption with the larger team.
DON'T NEGLECT TRAINING
Training is often an afterthought, but it should be a major focus area when adding a new tool or system. User adoption can be difficult when people aren’t properly trained on the new tool. They might take additional steps to complete a task when there is a simple shortcut built into the system. They might also become frustrated if the application doesn’t work as expected and, if there are still legacy systems or processes available, sidestep the new tool altogether.
Develop a complete training plan that includes a rollout schedule for various teams. This will help ensure that you have a foundation of experts in place as additional users begin working in the system. These experts can help reinforce good habits and pass along tips and tricks that make the tool easier to use.