What’s wrong with my questions? How IT projects fail to ask long-term user adoption questions.

This article was originally published on Tri Tuns Blog.


Does your IT implementation plan include a Change Management (CM) effort? It probably does. Does this CM effort include attaining information about the user community’s needs, in preparation for an IT build? Again, your answer may typically be yes.

So what could possibly be missing? The answer lies in what you are not asking about your client. Most often, consulting firms and IT implementation teams only seek information about the technical requirements to an IT build. What they forget to determine are the organizational impacts and barriers to actually using the new IT system.

Once the IT system is built and installed, it is a fallacy to assume the user community (system end-users) will adopt the new system fully and as designed (known as User Adoption). Therefore is imperative to determine factors beyond technical requirements that can positively and negatively affect system usage.


Below are just a couple of example questions one may ask the user community, in order to determine both organizational impacts and barriers to using a new IT system:

  1. In addition to technical system training (e.g. classroom, reference guides), what other support mechanisms or skill set needs would help you operate the new IT system as designed (e.g. scenario process steps, vehicle for sharing best practices, etc.)?
  2. What support would you like to see your managers provide to assist you in delivering quality services regarding the use of the new IT system?
  3. Who will be responsible for the ongoing assessment and management of user adoption? How will you adjust their current roles & responsibilities to handle the added role?


As you plan to implement a new IT system, include assessments in your project plan that will address issues that will foster user adoption. Identifying user adoption issues during the project will better prepare the user community for both initial go-live of the system as well as long-term system usage.


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