Collaborative solutions: How to perform major changes and provide efficient communication to users


Collaborative solutions

More and more professionals use collaborative digital solutions to perform their daily work: intranet, wikis, blogs, shared documents, internal social media.

A high number of ‘active’ users (readers and contributors) combined with an important volume of data require reliable, maintainable and scalable system. When it comes to upgrade it with major changes, how to keep providing a satisfying User Experience to all end-users?

Here are four insights to maximize chances that major changes are run in a smooth and almost transparent way for end-users:

  1. First action to do before any change: send communication to inform impacted users. Send this communication twice: 1) several weeks and then 2) several days before the first step of the upgrade.
  2. Provide support on a daily basis to help people keep working in good conditions during changes. Email, phone, online chat, internal social media: the more channels you open, the more end-users will be able to reach you and get personal assistance.
  3. Create online tutorials, short demos or videos to deliver insights, explanations and details about these changes. To invite users to interact, send them surveys or questionnaires to get their feedback: do they feel a need to adapt? If so, which workarounds do they use? Which habit are they changing? Conversely, can they keep working with usual conditions?
    Because as actors (even directors) of these major changes you maintain communication and ask for their opinion, users feel reassured, supported and even comfortable during this period of transition.
  4. Also on a very regular basis, keep communicating through a blog, a specific website or even a wiki: provide news and information about what is going on. Is the project meeting some delay? Give some details about this. Have some features already been implemented? Are they correctly running or do some minor bugs persist? Engage collaborators to test, to send you some feedback. They are your best asset to perform upgrade with success.

Have you ever conducted major upgrade on web application, software or system used by number of end-users? How did you communicate? What were their reactions?

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