…… Part of The Basics series. First published in September 2011 ……
I have developed 5 key success criteria for user adoption and most start very early in the process. We reviewed these points with the members of IntraNetwork in Paris at a hands-on work session. Several members were currently rolling out huge new intranets and the discussion was lively and full of real examples.
- Create a “networked governance” with no black holes.
- Involve users from day one
- Play the local management trump card
- Deploy operationally, not organizationally
- Propose practical, decision-making tools
1. Create a “networked governance” with no black holes
(By governance, I’m referring to decision-making: scopes, roles and accountability.)
All parts of the organization must be somehow connected to at least one of the decision-makers and, more importantly, know how they are connected. This is valid for intranet business-as-usual and for intranet projects.
Think in different facets: “organization”, “geography”, “function” and “operational”. It will require some creative juggling, but when steering group members are chosen, think of people who can wear 2 if not 3 hats. In a large, global organization, there is no other way to keep the steering group small enough to be workable, yet representative of the different facets of the enterprise.
Imagine your governance system as a network with lots of nodes. An example: imagine a person based in Germany, working in HR and attached to a specific business division. That person can be the governance network node for Germany, country HR teams and the business division. His/her role is to reach out to relevant people in those 3 dimensions and to keep them either involved or informed depending on who they are and what’s happening.
2. Involve users from day one
Users should be in the loop early on, regularly and visibly. This is true for the business-as-usual life of the intranet. When a new project starts up, it is even more important. Their involvement must be visible to their managers. People from different parts of the organization should be included. There are lots of ways to involve them, and that’s another topic all together.
One thing for sure, end-users should be involved throughout the definition and design process, not just at the end to “test the prototype”.
3. Deploy operationally, not organizationally
Many if not most new intranets are inaugurating a collaborative or social dimension for the first time. Or they may be integrating “managed” and “collaborative” for the first time. Whichever, it will be useful to think in terms of “operational units” rather than “organizational units” when you roll out the collaborative parts.
Rolling out first to operational groups that already work together increases your chances of success. This includes teams, communities, workgroups, etc. Hopefully your new solution will make life easier for them. Hopefully it will bring at least one or more of these 4 benefits: let them do things better than before, faster than before, cheaper than before or even things they could not do at all before. If you’re lucky, it will go viral and you’ll be overwhelmed with demand!
4. Play the local management trump card
The French refer often to “le management de proximité” – which somehow sounds more elegant than “local management”! Even if your project is driven from the center of the organization (a nicer word than headquarters!), it cannot be easily deployed from the center.
Local management need to make many rollout decisions, including when and how. Get them on board and deployment will be much easier.
5. Propose practical, decision-making tools
The more decentralized the system, the more essential it is to have practical tools that people throughout the organization can use to carry out their migration.
The deployment kit must be practical and contain decision-making guidelines and tools. It may include a grid to define content approval cycles, a set of guidelines for setting up a community space, tips for writing search-engine-friendly headlines and articles, and so on.
How have you addressed user adoption in your organization?