The most effort I have spent when implementing successful CMS’s (Content Management Systems, to the newbies among us) is not design, PM issues, or technology – It is getting the people that use it accept it.
No one wants their job eliminated by technology, and no one embraces change and tumult in their work life. Something has to give – or the system will fail, with stubborn and unremorseful staff uttering the sad eulogy, “I told them it won’t work”, “That is not how we do things in this department”, “It really is easier to keep doing the work the way we know”, “that system was just too difficult for us”, etc. etc.
I am frequently called in to implement difficult systems, and sometimes put something in place AFTER others had failed to launch. After ROI models are built, systems designed and tested, management eagerness waits for the harbingers of success. (No, not my bill! LOL).
All of this is a wasted effort without – wait for it – USER ACCEPTANCE!
Users have a right to be scared. It is our responsibility to ensure they are part of the solution, and many users have seen technology eliminate jobs (consider that your car was most likely assembled by robots, and the robot technicians outnumber the auto workers at the plant). It’s our job to mitigate this fear strongly and early on, so there are fewer surprises post implementation.
Good project management dictates that you get the users on board early. Include them in meetings, take notes when they make suggestions, and make sure they understand what we aim to do AND how the organization is eager to have the new CMS on line.
Make sure milestones are celebrated – Training, completion of testing phases, first 10,000 documents scanned, signoff party, etc. Treat your users with respect and caring, celebrate their transition to the paperless world, and let them know that the knowledge they have (about their business) is the most important asset in the business, and CMS’s can augment, not replace, what they know.