Are We There Yet?
The Elusive Implementation Destination
How many times have you reached the end of an IT implementation and moved on to the next project, only to get called back again and again (and again) to solve one-off problems with the new system? It’s a frustrating yet all too common way to complete a project, and it leaves behind bad feelings that lead to resistance on future projects. The good news is that it doesn’t have to end this way.
Buckle Up for the Ride Together
The goal is to exit a project with all heads nodding and agreeing: We’re done. Good job. We’ve arrived at our goal. How do you make that happen? Make your Help Desk and User Services group part of the project team. No, I don’t mean you should call them in after all key decisions have been made, and then train them to implement just a few months before go-live. I mean incorporate them into the project team beginning at kickoff. Buckle them in from the start.
Key points to this approach:
- Get the Best. Don’t settle for people down the line who “can be spared.” You need the manager or director with some experience in prior implementations.
- Include them Early. Invite them to the requirements meeting. These people can give you wonderful insight and improve the quality of your analysis and decision-making from the start.
- Include User Services. Add these groups to the master project plan as team members of a customary workstream or as their own workstream. They should have their own tasks, milestones, and deliverables, and all should sync up with the master plan.
- Incorporate their Metrics. Include them in the project analysis. Combining User Services metrics with their vast experience will keep the project from veering off the road.
Give up the Keys
Now comes the hard part for many project teams. Let the service team drive the transition. That’s right. After the implementation goes live, User Services should lead. Take a deep breath and remember that they’ve been on the team since the kickoff. They will provide user support for the remaining life of the system. And, they are ultimately the ones who will tell you with positive metrics and user quotes that the project’s over, heads nodding in agreement, a job well done. You’ve arrived.