A Super-user’s survival guide
Super-users are often considered to be super-heroes by organizations that adopt new software solutions. However, super-users, unlike Marvel comic characters, do not have super-powers. Super-users are the main nexus between an organization’s solution implementation team and the end-users. They are mainly responsible for the adoption – or not – of the solution by end-users. This mission is not without risks, and requires skills that are not necessarily innate.
Boy and girl scouts are not let loose in the wild without their proverbial preparation. But the preparation goes beyond acquiring a Swiss army knife; they also have to master the skills required to survive in a hostile environment. A super-user’s Swiss army knife is nothing more or less than their ability to communicate and teach. Super-users are responsible for training up their colleagues on the new solution, but also for being the first-line trouble-shooters. Super-users are considered to be the organization’s resident expert in the solution, which is why they are also considered the main artisan of a project implementation’s success, or failure. Super-users are in effect the project’s team leader for its users.
And the super-user’s environment is indeed hostile, with its share of perils such as resistance to change or the technological cluelessness of end-users, requiring a massive dose of positivity and leadership to survive.
Super-users, unlike scouts, do not venture out into unknown territory; instead, they beat a familiar path between the project management team and end-users, in order to keep the ever-critical channels of communication open.
Super-users, like scout leaders, are responsible for their team’s learning. Super-users were themselves trained by the solution supplier in order to pass on their knowledge to other users, hence influencing their team’s acceptance, or rejection, of the solution.
Super-users don’t need to prove that they can light a fire; on the contrary, they fight fires within their organization to ensure the smooth running and success of the project. Super-users draw on their expertise in the solution while reacting proactively to user support needs. Finally, they are responsible for identifying and escalating incidents to the management team or directly to the supplier.
Super-users are responsible for solution integrity since, with their in-depth knowledge of the solution, they are called upon to test it thoroughly and to give their approval for delivery.
To succeed in this mission, super-users must arm themselves with perseverance, a teaching approach, and a keen interest for the new solution. Super-users are the main protagonists of the software solution implementation project, which is why their mission preparation is a key success factor for the project.
“Magic happens outside our comfort zone.”