In the first post in this series we talked about the importance of adoption and how it can often be an afterthought in the process of building world class open source solutions. We delved into the topic of identifying your audience. That was a huge step in the right direction. For more information on identifying your audience see my blog from last week. Today, lets delve into the remaining 5 steps in the process starting with understanding the logistics and geography of your audience and constituents.
2. Understand logistics and geography.
Once we have an understanding of the types of personas, the next step is to unpack the logistics. How many people are in scope of adoption? Where are they distributed? What is their level of technical competency? Not so long ago my team built a mobile application for HVAC repair technicians. Previously they had only used a paper process and many of them were inexperienced computer users. So adoption would not be a simple case of train once and done. Testing needed to be considered, repeat training in a low cost format was required and they were distributed across the country. There are many factors to consider when we think of the logistics of the training. In context this informs us of the types of training we should design. Classroom? Remote? Classroom and remote for a booster? Recorded? In application? There’s clearly lots to ponder.
3. Assess the application complexity.
Ok so you’re building this really custom cool solution. The UX team is jazzed and really focused on creating the best user experience. That said some workflows, screens and process can be complex for the specific audience. Often we see a need for short custom training modules for complex areas of the application. This may mean that we need to customize training programs to address specific topics or provide short videos on key steps that are important to a given process. Don’t forget the developers - do you need them trained to maintain the application immediately upon launch? Probably. Should they be trained as the application is delivered? Should they be part of the delivery team? Possibly. These are all inputs in the process of developing our adoption strategy.
4. Design your adoption program.
This is where we get to the creative part of the process and determine what specific training materials are required. What additional supporting material and or messaging is needed? How are they delivered and when? What aspects can be taken from publically available material or previously developed training curriculum? How much needs to be customized? How will we measure success of adoption (proactive feedback)? What vehicles are we using for delivery? Whats the project plan? Ok so plan complete.
5. Assemble and test.
Now that the strategy is complete it's time to assemble and test the materials. Some projects will be so straightforward that tried and trusted curriculum is best - and there’s lots of it out there. Some may require fine tuning as you go. Its always worth while taking time to develop and test the material on a small “safe” group before rollout to larger audiences. That said, depending on how you structure your plan, its ok to fine tune as you go. The key is to be mindful of the fact that its normal to tune and sharpen your message along the way.
6. Deploy and tune.
Like anything adoption is a living breathing process. The best laid plans always need some fine tuning. If we’ve set the measures right we can adjust “in process” as necessary in order to ensure successful adoption. This means gathering proactive feedback in every session, providing a clear method for analysis, reporting and fine tuning.
There are a number of surrounding activities and “campaigns” that a team might consider in addition to the pure “enablement” items listed above that I’ve not really addressed here. Some might seem odd at first glance but they can be incredibly powerful. For example, we don’t always tend to “market” our technologies to our internal constituents - but it can certainly help to drive awareness and adoption. Especially where there is a resistance to change. Consider the broader context of adoption as you fine tune your adoption strategy.
The good news is that investing in adoption is a small fragment of the total project cost. And its worth it. All of the above may seem like a lot. But in context it can and should be adjusted for the engagement, the scale of the team, geography and use case. It safeguards application adoption and success. Which invariably means your Executive team will view the project as a worthy investment. As a next step we’ll be providing a more in depth white paper on the process that will provide detailed steps on building a successful adoptions strategy including case studies. Stay tuned.