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The Lean Learning Experience: A User-Focused Approach to Technology Adoption

Configuring and rolling out new enterprise software applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, is an extraordinarily difficult and consequential effort for most organizations. The numbers confirm the challenge in successfully implementing these applications: 91% of such efforts go over budget, 57% are not completed on time, and 67% never realize their intended benefits (1).

The challenge increases after a new system goes live. At an individual level, the challenge can be like injuring your dominant hand, forcing you to use your other hand when performing everyday tasks. The daily tasks are the same (get dressed, drive a car, eat a salad), but the level of difficulty increases substantially. Muscle memory is useless, and the little details and processes one develops and practices over years (or decades) no longer work. At an enterprise level, hundreds or thousands of people are all similarly challenged, and most struggle as they learn to operate in the new reality.

This people challenge is commonly referred to as the “adoption” challenge. We find organizations engaged in such efforts must perform at a high level and develop quality solutions in three critical—and equally important—areas: the Technology being implemented, the Abilities of the users, and the Commitment of the organization and its users. This is GP’s TAC model of adoption.

The TAC model proposes that the success of the implementation and adoption of any enterprise technology solution is a function of the quality of the solution itself (the fully configured and tested enterprise solution), the ability (knowledge and skills) of the users of that technology, and the commitment of those users and the organization in enthusiastically embracing the new technology. This model shows that, like a tripod, weakness or failure in one leg of the model can cause failure in the entire effort.

After years of working with customers, offering methods to create highly effective technology and OCM solutions, we noticed that most companies struggled with the ‘A’ part of the TAC model. The ability to create and deliver highly effective front-line user learning solutions was the number one challenge in a successful technology go-live. In response to this trend, we have created and tested the Lean Learning Experience (LLX) methodology of development, which provides such a solution for any large technology implementation and adoption effort.

LLX has two essential components designed to drive the success of an ERP implementation. The first is a fierce focus on getting ERP users back to pre-implementation productivity levels and beyond as quickly as possible, thus minimizing the dip in productivity often experienced immediately after an ERP solution’s go-live. The other essential component is the learning team. LLX teams have the flexibility and adaptability required to operate at high levels despite resource constraints, ambiguous or missing information, and lack of attention from the project team. Lean, or agile, teams are focused on the high-value content, can quickly adapt to changing circumstances, and function effectively despite real-world constraints.

Often, training consists of inundating users with tons of facts right before a go-live, doing more harm than good in driving business results. We know that identifying the essential business processes and tasks that drive business results and helping users create new, highly focused mental models lead to success in their new environment. This is achieved by taking a disciplined approach to adult learning that helps reduce the confusion that most users of a new enterprise software system experience.

Want to learn more about LLX? Read about our latest LLX project at a global aerospace and defense company.

  1. Critical success factors of ERP implementation in SMEs, 2019

About the Authors

Scott Barber
Scott Barber has over 15 years of experience in training and performance and has been an instructor, lecturer, instructional designer, and project manager for a wide range of training and performance solutions in multiple industry segments. Most recently, one of Scott’s projects that used Agile methods was awarded a 2015 Brandon Hall silver medal for Best Improvement for Custom Content. Scott is a Certified Scrum Master and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Liberty University.

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