User adoption – How hard can it be?

Today I was invited as guest speaker at one of the international communities of practice by J. Boye at their meeting in Gothenburg hosted by SKF. An excellent meeting with like minded people from all over Europe.

The topic for my presentation was the introduction of new features and subsequent user adoption. Unfortunately I am not allowed to share my slides here, but here’s the outline and recommendations I presented.

Get involved!
Don’t expect your colleagues in IT to look out for the end user. It may happen, but all too often projects start out with a tech-focus and this makes it likely that the user experience will suffer due to things which may seem logical from a technical point-of-view, but backwards for the users.

Know your audience!
Make an effort to find out how the new solution impact the daily work and what the IT skills the users have. This is a good opportunity to go sit down with someone, or just to see how they actually work.

Culture and values – ”This is how we implement”
The old, familiar way is not necessarily bad. When you implement eg. social features it is tempting to use radical approaches, but it is important to bear in mind that implementations create discomfort in the organisation. If the level of discomfort created is to low you will not succeed in creating sustainable change. If the discomfort becomes to big, people will object to the change.

Align user adoption strategy with business case – and vice versa.
What does the business case say? That everyone need to use the new solution? Then you need to set a lot of money aside for user adoption compared to if the business case calls for 50% adoption. The problem is that business cases listing less than 100% adoption are less likely to get approval!

For more on this topic, I can recommend Michael Sampson’s book “User adoption strategies” which I have written more about here Don’t just build it and throw it out there!

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