In practice it´s often seen that project plans, governance structures and even ROI calculations (Return on Investment) focus on hard facts, such as software cost, process benefits, implementation and customization efforts and rather neglect the “soft” topic of user adoption. So many projects initially do not consider the full efforts required for getting the users up to speed, and – likewise important – to get their buy-in for the new solution in order to avoid unnecessary downtime before and after the go-live which heavily impacts the expected value.
Adding additional budget in the late project phases usually forces project managers to save effort and budget in other ways or limit adoption budgets to the minimum which heavily adds risks to the project success. In addition, important project milestones need to be moved out if the needs for user training are not considered early enough. This could even result in a delay of the go-live.
Here are some reasons why you should build your Learning & Adoption Strategy early:
If a long-term implementation project is planned, the Learning & Adoption Strategy should be part of the initial project planning and general mobilization phase. This may be even 1-2 years before a go-live. The average preliminary lead time for a Learning & Adoption Strategy for typical PLM software implementation projects is 7-9 months.
In a Learning & Adoption Strategy, some important questions for end-user enablement shall be considered:
Based on these questions the Learning & Adoption Strategy will define general decisions regarding end-user enablement. These decisions will guide later project steps being part of the overall picture, such as the communication plan, the training plan, the user support plan, the training curriculum definition or the early management information and training team staffing.
Here are 3 general rules of thumb for a successful Learning & Adoption Strategy:
To avoid issues with end-user enablement, reducing the overall project and implementation risks and finally ensure the expected project goals, the Learning & Adoption Strategy is a vital part of the project set-up. Experience shows that most of the successful implementation projects contained a well-planned and executed end-user training and motivation work stream.
In Part 2 of this article, we will discuss more details of a Learning & Adoption Strategy in respect to end user profiles and number of users (WHO).