blog.frederique.harmsze.nl my world of work and user experiences

March 31, 2017

Do not forget to start communicating at an early stage

Filed under: Adoption — Tags: — frederique @ 21:43

Too often I see IT departments do a project to implement, for example, Office 365 and develop new site templates. And then they plan to communicate the result to the business after it is finished. Maybe even help the users to adopt the new tools, once they are available. But only after the fact.

Recently, I have been involved in efforts to help users adopt Office 365 (see also 5 lessons learned about user adoption programmes and 5 more lessons learned about User Adoption). In my new project I also tripped over questions pertaining to adoption immediately. User adoption actually is an official track in the programme initiated by the IT department. I am working in a different track, from the perspective of a business unit. And we were missing things.

First and foremost: does the business, do the employees know about the programme to move to Office 365? Or when will it be communicated?

It turned out that only communication directly related to the roll-out was part of the adoption track: for example, messages to warn users that their mailbox or the team site they manage will be migrated soon. But there was no communication plan elsewhere to deal with the more general communication. And we did need that.

Why do we need to talk with the business at an early stage?

  • Get buy-in from the stakeholders. We need the decision makers on board. Not only the executive who approved the budget, but also the others.
  • Get approval for contacts to spend time on the programme. We need input from various people , to determine what new templates we need, to find out what existing content should be migrated , to inventory mailboxes that may or may not have to be migrated. Before we ask them to participate in workshops or check our lists, they should know why we ask and that it is ok to spend time on it.
  • Start the buzz. Employees may be interested to know that soon they will get new tools for collaborating and sharing. Some of them at least. If you tell them at an early stage, they may start looking forward to it and maybe even volunteer to get involved. Recently, some people decided to wait for the new team sites instead of renewing an expensive external tool, when we told them about the new options.

So we’ll┬ástart communication as soon as possible.

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