Picture this: you’ve gone through all the steps of selecting the right AMS, and you’ve spent months implementing it, but the rest of your team isn’t as excited as you and doesn’t want to use the system.
What went wrong?
Let’s talk about user acceptance and how important it is to involve the rest of your team at the right time throughout the project.
Getting Your Team Involved with Implementation to Grow User Acceptance
Think of all the business functions at your association and the go-to subject matter experts for each function. Invite them to the meetings with the provider on the sections of the AMS that they use for their business role. Approach your subject matter experts for help with requirements gathering and discussions around their processes.
Remember, it’s the project manager’s job to know when to involve other team members during implementation. Don’t overwhelm the team by inviting them to too many meetings, or ones that are irrelevant to what they do. By bringing them in at key times, you’re giving them the opportunity to speak up about their part of the system and allowing them to feel confident that the new system will fit their needs.
Involve the Right People in Data Migration
Similar to the discussions around processes, your subject matter experts will also be instrumental in checking their data. Bring them in to make sure that the data for their business functions are correct.
Data migration is an extensive process, but when you involve the staff in the parts of the data that they use, you’re giving them the confidence that the data that is important to them will be mapped over correctly in the new system. When your staff is confident that everything will be configured to their needs, they are much more likely to accept and use the new platform.
While it’s important to have each subject matter expert check their data, you should also have a designated person who is responsible for the data migration. Sometimes this person is also the project manager, but sometimes it’s someone else completely. The data is theirs, and they are the expert on the data. That way, if the subject matter experts notice something wrong with their data, they have someone to go to. Also, having one person who owns the data while simultaneously having subject matter experts check their section allows more eyes on a critical part of the system.
Make User Acceptance an Early Priority
Worst case scenario: your new system is about to go live, and the rest of your team has never seen or logged into it yet. How can this be avoided?
User acceptance testing shouldn’t be an afterthought. But how do you convince your team to log in and check out the new system earlier rather than later? By keeping the staff updated and excited about the new functionality or features that you are gaining with the switch. Once the system has been configured, bring those SMEs back in to test their business function. Then, they can give any feedback if it doesn’t meet their requirements. If you wait until go-live to get their feedback on the new system, it will be a scramble to get everything right at the end of the finish line.
Another way to gain feedback and user acceptance is to allow the staff or select members to take the new system out for a test drive. As the project manager, give them a task to perform in the platform and see if they complete the steps on their own. Now, if they run into roadblocks or something isn’t working correctly, you are identifying that quickly before everyone else is welcomed into the system.
When the staff is able to test out the system with minimal guidance, they are taking ownership of their section of the AMS and, you are confident that they will know how to use the system before the end of implementation.
However your vendor provides training, make sure that the staff is attending the training that is necessary for them. Ask your vendor if they have any way to check or verify the knowledge learned from the training, like some kind of exam or knowledge check. That way, you can feel confident that the team not only has completed training but also absorbed the information.
We get it. Not everyone is super excited about completing training courses. Offer incentives for completing the training before implementation is over. Things like a gift card, catered lunch, or even a half-day of paid time off could entice your staff to finish it sooner in the process.
The key to user acceptance? Involving the right people at the right time. Don’t be afraid to bring your staff in for help during the meetings and data checks that involve them. By giving your team a voice in the process and sneak peeks into the new system, you’re gaining their confidence that it will fit the needs of their business function.