The role of a Tech Executive is often unforgiving. Balancing the expectations of CEOs and end-users, when it comes to new technology, can seem like an impossible task. Everyone wants someone to blame when the company’s latest software solution proves difficult to use or represents workflows and priorities that have changed during the development cycle.
We’ve all heard the stories of CIOs who have been fired after rolling out new applications that were delivered on time and on budget with all their development goals met.
Sometimes, it’s because a new CEO takes over and favors a different approach than his or her predecessor. More frequently, however, it’s because middle managers and end-users refuse to adopt the new software. They don’t like the features. They don’t like the functionality. The UX doesn’t deliver what they expected. There is a reason why the position of CIO is sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘Career Is Over’.
So, is every new application deployment a risk? While few could argue the significance of a smooth rollout, the key to a successful application deployment—beyond budget, deadline, and functionality—is the ease of its adoption, and the key to successful adoption starts with the application blueprint.
Here are three tips to help you promote user adoption before the first line of code is written on your custom software project.
Start A Campaign
You’ve analyzed the current system and identified the inefficiencies that are costing time, money, or reputation. You’ve determined that a custom solution is the right choice moving forward and you’re ready to move into the approval and planning phases. Getting C-Suite buy-in is critical, of course, but there are other stakeholders who need to support your plan, even before it starts.
It’s helpful to view the introduction of new technology as an election campaign. Identify the stakeholders and their core concerns and build your message around that. Emphasize the current pain points and how they will be addressed by the new application and what value that has to each stakeholder.
This a process we can help with through our discovery calls. When talking to you about your goals and what your project needs to accomplish for your business, we also help you to define the points that will help with the adoption process.
Including middle managers and end-users in serious pre-planning discussions may seem unnecessary, but it will provide you with a sense of who supports your endeavor, and who is going to resist the implementation of your plan. You will need to harness the former and take extra time to address the concerns of the latter.
One of the advantages of Endpoint Modeling is that it provides a logical framework for promoting buy-in. From the first day of our workshop, we focus on all of the stakeholders, encouraging them to discuss their needs and expectations, and agree on what will be included in the project blueprint. This inclusion fosters investment, and ultimately, provides a better chance that new technology will be adopted without major issues.
Invest in Multi-Stage Approval
Rather than waiting until after deployment to secure user buy-in, include your stakeholders in the approval process for each stage of development. Our workshops provide a clickable walk-through prototype that allows stakeholders to understand the exact look, feel and functionality they should expect from the finished application.
After this prototype has been approved, we provide additional buy-in opportunities at the completion of each major development phase, ensuring that the project stakeholders are invested and aligned with the technology they will be using.
This no-surprises approach to development and deployment is what allows for high buy-in rates and positive UI/UX reviews. If you secure the acceptance of your project’s prototype, and the work as reviewed at every major milestone, then it becomes difficult for your stakeholders to reject the end result. We take every possible step possible to create a smooth and surprise-free rollout for your projects, allowing you to take the credit for a job well done.
Do you have a user adoption success story to share? Have you experienced a rollout nightmare that you would like to warn other people about? Share your opinions and stories in the comments. You never know who might need to read them at this very moment!