2/07/15

5 Ways to Make User Adoption a Laughing Matter

This comic strip made its way around the office a few weeks ago. After we stopped laughing, we gave the comic some serious thought. The comic was only funny because we could all relate to its reality. As we laughed, there was a simultaneous grimace because securing adoption is actually a serious struggle for many projects, not something to laugh at. As consultants, we have all witnessed numerous IT projects fail to deliver value because no one used the product. We decided to pull together proven tactics to securing user adoption so we could lessen the guilt of laughing at a serious matter and help others avoid the mistakes we have observed.

First off, know the wants and needs of your target users. They may be a piece of your internal organization or agents, brokers, etc. People are never going to use something they don’t want in the first place so make sure there is a want or need for the product you are developing.

Involve those you want to adopt the product in the development process. When people feel involved they will take a much more active role in its success. Take care to avoid the common misconception of separate IT or business projects. “There are very few IT projects but instead business projects with IT components,” says Steve Leigh, Managing Consultant at NEOS in a recent webinar on system selection. Including a sponsor from both IT and business will ensure company wide adoption.

Communicate often! This means more than sending out a monthly project newsletter; depending on the size and scope of the project, build an appropriate strategy to engage people from the beginning. Avoid the all-too-common practice of ignoring the people who will make or break the project until it is too late. Getting employees excited and happy about the end state will make life easier during and after project implementation.

Easy access to training and resources. By simply easing a transition through providing necessary resources and offering training options, you are increasing the chance of user adoption exponentially. Who is going to take the time to search for help on something they are not crazy about using while they are busy trying to do their job? The answer is no one.

If possible, employ gamification. Gamification is defined as applying game mechanics to non-game scenarios. While training classes are helpful, they don’t deliver the amount of follow-up and ongoing coaching that gamification can. Gamification enables ongoing user engagement by dividing specific objectives into progressive levels. For more information about whether your organization could benefit from a gamified initiative read our whitepaper – The Gamification Playbook: Winning Strategies for Insurers.

Now, with a guilt-free conscious and project managers armed with proven tactics to ensure user adoption, we can still laugh at the user adoption comic that inspired this article.