Part 1: Developing a Change Management Plan – Testing Phase

Your organization has chosen a new technology to help teams get their jobs done more efficiently and effectively within your enterprise. This is great news! This new technology can be one of the most exciting and challenging changes for any organization. One of the most important parts of any new technology integration involves your workforce. Getting your workforce onto and actively using new technology services can be fraught with challenges and unexpected findings. Fortunately, much of this can be mitigated with sound planning and preparation.

Change Management Plans are crucial to all new technology enhancements in an organization. The primary reason for Change Management Plans is to help drive, clarify, and justify requirements. Planning can also allow management to see what’s on the horizon and beyond for possible pain points or pitfalls associated with the new technology. Change management plans do not necessarily have to be formal documents containing lengthy explanations. Many of the best change management plans simply lay out the process for how grandfathered technologies will be integrated into a new technology. At the same time, this will allow management to see what new items come to the table once a new technology is in place.

Typically, with any new technology, your front-line employees will be your helpdesk workers. These individuals are heavily relied upon to help explain, clarify, and scale up any possible issues end users may face. Working with your technology vendor to receive proper end user documentation and then releasing it to your helpdesk employees will help them to understand the new system better. In addition, it will ensure that they ask crucial questions end users may not think of, and give feedback on how the system can be better integrated to the current platform the enterprise may be using.

As with any new technology integration, it is recommended you have your system tiered into at least three different areas. Your enterprise should build out dedicated zones for development, i.e. customization areas, then test – which is a replica of your live environment – and finally the live employee-facing platform. Even if your existing technologies are cloud or remotely based, a development and test area should still exist for your account.

As your enterprise creates these environments, your IT department should prepare to have end users, who are considered tech leads from various departments, receive access to your test environment to get a feel for what is coming to the workforce. These tech leads can provide very valuable feedback to your IT team on how well a new system will be received by your workforce. Their feedback should help steer detailed requirements about user interface, training, and any other customization work your enterprise will need to help transition to this new technology.

The second part of this series will follow on Thursday. If you have any tips for how to effectively manage the roll out of new technology, let me know below!

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