Hitting the Target with SharePoint Projects
I was intrigued years ago when I learned that students of Japanese archery (Kyudo) are taught that crucial to the success of shooting an arrow is the moment after it leaves the bow. During this “zanshin” stage, archers focus mind and spirit on the arrow, even after it reaches the target.
Going live with a project is a bit like firing an arrow. The problem is that most projects are focused on getting to the “go live” point and pay too little attention to what happens afterwards.
Once the arrow has been fired it’s all about user adoption, people embrace the system and, if everything goes according to plan, incorporate it into their day-to-day activities.
For me, there are a few critical stages after the go-live date that will ensure the project meets its objectives and hits its target:
Ensure that users are comfortable with the new system and give them an opportunity to ask any questions which may not have occurred to them during training. In our experience this is best done one-to-one, ideally face-to-face, using techniques like “floor walking” (visiting users at their desks).
Six Months On
See how users have settled in, identify what’s working well and what additional information people could use to get more out of the system. There is a good opportunity for people to learn from each other at this stage so we find that workshops become the preferred training mechanism.
Twelve Months On
Assess the solution to see if it is being utilised as anticipated. If there are parts that are no longer being used, find out why and do something about it. Tweak the application or the way it is being used to improve adoption.
This phase can be a little more complex, because it can involve looking at data, examining logs, watching the way people interact with the system, then convening workshops so they can share experiences and discuss the findings of the exercise. In some cases, conducting surveys can also be useful for gathering feedback.
In Ergo we believe that this holistic approach helps ensure each solution meets the business needs on day one, and continues to meet them for months and years afterwards. This is why we like to deliver projects within the context of a managed service, turning a finite deployment into an ongoing relationship.
So when you’re talking to Ergo about a project, don’t be surprised if we talk more about the post-implementation phase. We like to watch the arrow all the way to the target.