To speed up the adoption of changes being brought forth by projects, one of the key success factors is user involvement. When developing an in-house application or product, business needs are most often the main driver of requirements. But too often the people who will be using it are overlooked. This may seem pretty obvious, but during the design, involving them (and actually listening to them) will facilitate adoption as you move towards implementing the change. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. It can save the project money.
Users and subject matter experts (when consulted at the right time) can state not-so-obvious system faults that could result in costly human errors or increased handling time brought on by unnecessary steps in a process.
2. It is time well spent.
Because subject matter experts sometimes just aren’t enough, create a change management sounding board comprised of people from the different areas affected by the project. Meeting them for one hour, every once in a while, will be time well spent. It will allow you to obtain more insight into the future implementation and avoid any surprises, and therefore prevent hours of re-work or even worse, hours dedicated to crisis management following the implementation.
3. They help you predict how things will go.
What about when implementing out-of-the-box products? Why should you consult users if you can’t even customize the product you’re implementing? Why, because they’ll feed you on how to bring about the change. People don’t resist to change per say, they resist to the way the change is introduced.
4. They will give you their perspective on the TRUE added value of what you’re implementing.
These will become selling points used in communications and training that will allow you to better position the change and speed up adoption.
5. It creates a bridge between the project team, the sponsor and the users.
As you start to involve people and the change is being communicated, inviting representatives from the affected groups to participate in selected steering committees is important This will allow both the sponsor to hear how things are going from the people who are actually living through the change and allows the sponsor to be engaged and promote the change to the users.
As a bonus, here’s a sixth reason:
It gives you brownie points.
Make sure that your communication plan mentions that users were involved in the design…it will go a long way! The people on the receiving end of the change tend to be reassured knowing their peers were consulted.
What success or challenges have you met when trying to involve users?