Currently approaching a key go-live date with the users now eagerly hammering away on a UAT environment. Taking a slightly different approach to a normal UAT phase as its a green field site where we are replacing a manual process with an xRM implementation (Contract and Customer Management).
The risk was that the introduction of automation in areas that have always been manual would see the users lose context in their tasks as many positions and job roles were focussed on the process rather than the outcomes. Collating information for KPI reporting purposes etc which are now all generated from the application was a key component of several positions for at least a few days each month.
To mitigate the risk of bewilderment our approach was to observe and notate 3 random users over the previous month (start of the month, mid month and during end of month reporting) which resulted in the creation of running sheets for several ‘days in the life’ of the various user types. This document then strongly influenced the UAT sheets and user guides and identified areas that were potential ‘bewilderers’ for users as the xRM application would take them from operational data capture and record management to KPI reports without the collation and QA process etc.
To shave down the levels of potential bewilderment in the short term we created an extended report that allowed the users to verify the process and data being collated for the end of month figures. Even though this report doesn’t change the KPI generation report in any way it provides users with a mid month method of gaining back a sense of accumulative context. The vision is that after 3 or 4 months of using the report the gap between the inputs and outputs of the application won’t be a source of bewilderment for the users and they will be comfortable to do away with the task of checking the report and move onto other tasks.
Early signs are that this step has reduced the risk of this giving users a negative experience with the application. Looks like it will be a politically smart move and one that only cost an extra half days dev effort.