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How to Improve Software User Adoption by 50% in 10 days

June 30, 2010
manageprouser

This week we’ve been doing a major launch and ran into the familiar
concern, “how do we get people to use the software once we buy it?”
Most people miss one simple tactic that works wonders, which we’ll
cover in this blog.

First of all, there are a number of things you can do to improve
utilization, depending on the user group, the organizational culture,
and how clearly and compellingly you can address the questions of
“Why do I need/have to learn to use this software now?” and
“What’s in it for me?”.  See the links at the bottom of this blog for
references.

So what’s the single most effective thing you can do?  What really
increases adoption… in just 10 work days?

You may not believe this, but it’s using the software in meetings.

This is particularly true for any program that involves project planning,
collaboration, task management, etc… e.g. ManagePro & MProLite.

Let me give you 3 quick reasons why using the software in meetings
is so directly tied to user adoption:

1.  First of all, using the software in a meeting that occurs regularly,
preferably weekly, indicates (proof) that you (management) are
regularly using the “new program.”  A majority of users always wait
to see if the people who bought or mandate using the software are
really serious about it.  E.g. will it be a passing fade and die out in a
month.  Using it regularly in a meeting cuts through all of that right
up front.

2. Using it in a meeting immediately exposes who is keeping up with
updates and data entry (two primary indicators of adoption).  You
want the public visibility (transparency) to work for you.  It is a
powerful double motivator of recognition and embarrassment, when
a user’s updates are either present and well written or missing.
People respond to this motivator really quickly.

3.  Using the software in meetings give you the opportunity to redefine
attendence rights based upon software adoption.  Most people do
not want to be excluded from meetings.  When you make attendance
conditional on having their inputs into the software you are referencing
in the meeting, it becomes an additional powerful shaper of behavior.

For even more effect, and you usually only have to do this once,
ask the first person who hasn’t updated their part of the software as
you reach that part of the meeting agenda, to leave the meeting and
return after they have completed their update.  No one likes to be
fired from the meeting”, and this sends a big time message to
everyone else that the rules have changed in a way that gets the
point across 100 times more powerfully than asking, threatening,
pleading with people to use the software.

Bottom Line:
The most effective way to increase user adoption is to use the
software within the meeting process.  The emotional drivers are:
proof, transparency resulting in recognition/embarrassment, and
new meeting attendence requirements.  With ManagePro, we just
use a project to display the contents on ManagePro on the screen,
and use the program to function as both the agenda and immediate
data source for discussion and action items.

Links:
Software Adoption and Innovation
Meeting Management


1 Comment. Leave new

Great tip! With that kind of pressure and scrutiny, users will have to use the software. Some coercion is good sometimes :). You may also want to look at my advice on improving software adoption – http://www.hyperoffice.com/blog/2010/11/04/6-ways-to-increase-collaboration-software-adoption/

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