In mid-summer of this year I was sitting with my client’s CEO in his office when he asked me, “So, what is your role on this project?” Um, er, ah… yeah, what is my role on this project? Technically, I was the Regional Project Manager for the North America Organziational Change Management and Deployment. That’s a lot of words. So what does it really mean?
Ultimately, I was responsible for the successful user adoption of the new cloud-based email and calendar solution that this organization was in the process of implementing. So my job was about communication, training, communication, user list management, communication, logistics, communication, conference room calendars, communication, setting up and supporting a group of early “migrators.” And, oh, did I mention, communication?
Adding to the complexity of this project was a large user base: 70,000 global users with 8,500 of them our direct responsibility for the Region. Our Region included 8 local sites from the East Coast to California with a stop in Canada along the way. (When I started on the project we also had a site in Puerto Rico, but they were eventually excluded from our scope. (Bummer—I was hoping to make a site visit!) We went full speed ahead with the migration and employed a three-tiered approach to engaging our 8,500 users.
We found the following three concepts instrumental in the user-adoption of the new tool set:
Did you notice that communication was one of my responsibilities? At the core of the organizational change management philosophy was the communication effort. Once the announcement was official, the team kicked off a series of meetings, demonstrations, “Info Fairs,” WebExes, hallway conversations, and a specific, deliberate, email marketing campaign. We had to get in front of as many of those 8,500 users as possible with clear, concise, and consistent communication.
2) Peer Users
In addition to the communication effort, the program used a method I like to call the “Ask your Neighbor” program. We called for volunteers from the user base to commit to migrating early and being ready to support their colleagues during the “big migration” We called, and they answered. With 300 users trained, migrated, and with 5 weeks of experience using the new solution, we were ready to go.
The third tier to this effort was training. The classroom training offered was scheduled for the week of and surrounding the migration, giving users the “real-time” exposure to the tool set when they could actually use it. Roughly 65% of users participated in either classroom training, instructor-let web-based training, or self-paced web-based training.
So, how’d it go?
Actually, it went pretty smoothly, if I do say so myself! Our Region’s migration was almost a non-event. Our “Ask your Neighbor” users were well prepared and interested in assisting their colleagues with their questions and concerns. The training courses were easy to access and use, and most importantly, communications were direct, concise, and consistent.
The true measure of the success of the migration is how users report that the tool-set impacts their productivity. Are they feeling that their mail and calendar makes them more or less productive than they were before the migration? This continues to be monitored and mitigated (we didn’t expect everyone to love their new email and calendar as much as we did right away!). The organization continues to look forward to the additional collaboration tool suite that is now available globally. They are building a team and are truly excited about how these tools will bring cross-business unit and global collaboration on new products, services, and amazing scientific discoveries.