SharePoint Conference.ORG: Susan Hanley’s Secrets to Achieving Successful User Adoption

Why is it important to invest in user adoption planning? Bethesda-based
Susan Hanley, of Susan Hanley LLC, shared
12 SharePoint user adoption strategy secrets to answer this question in her
keynote address: From Vision to
Reality: Unlocking the Secrets of SharePoint User Adoption
. The
critical elements she identified endorse transition ease when introducing users
to SharePoint.

Hanley used a myriad of references and examples to support
her secrets, but for the sake of time (and space), I'll provide a summary of each "secret" below:

Secret 1 – Adoption
is not the end game.

Why aren't they coming when we build it? According to
Hanley, adoption rarely happens at once; it's a gradual process. For starters, messaging
is critically important. It is imperative that the solution is worth adopting and
addresses the issue.

Secret 2 – Adoptable
solutions solve real problems.

Hanley suggest incorporating features that engage users, such as 'likes and
ratings', 'help and feedback' – especially feedback regarding how useful the
search feature works.

Secret 3 – It's

Well written, engaging content helps make the user
experience that much better. By creating accurate – and current – content, you'll
captivate your audience. Another tip Hanley offered was to avoid the commonly
used "click here" hyperlink. Most readers skim content for the information they're
seeking. By providing descriptive hyperlinks, content is more effective and
makes information more accessible.

Secret 4 – You can

We all know change can be difficult, especially when adopting
new technologies. Expect delayed gratification, no guarantees, and squishy

Secret 5 – It's about

"This is how we've always done it," is the typical response
(and resistance) when it comes to changing up the status quo. It's important to ease into
change. Hanley suggests to start small (don't focus on solving all the world's
problems at the same time); keep it simple (don't tackle too much at once);
consider your culture (start projects with allies and receptive stakeholders);
consider the "long wow" and help users create new habits. It's also important
for leaders to model the behavior for employees to follow.

Secret 6 – It's all about comfort.

When it comes to training, plan a roadmap. Stagger
information to prevent information overload. Training should jump-start users
enough to function on day 1, yet prepare them for additional training down the

Secret 7 – It's about

Be creative by developing a communications plan that
incorporates unique launch ideas, establishes regular events, and leverages
existing meetings and events.

Secret 8 – It's about

It takes a village. Make sure the help desk, evangelists, and
moderators are prepared!

Secret 9 – It's about

Don't be afraid to incorporate incentives and rewards to help
kick start adoption. Hanley suggested scavenger hunts and events that involve
food are highly effective.

Secret 10 – It's
about listening.

Piggybacking off of the second secret, you need to seek
feedback and applyit. By identifying challenges and conducting usability tests,
you ensure that you are doing what you think you are doing.

Secret 11 – You're
never done. 

Secret 12 – It's
about sharing.

Don't be afraid to shamelessly "borrow" great ideas.

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