Projects Should be Focused on Adoption

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I want to make a proposition; the 'why' driving each task and each project should be one reason and one measure of success: User Adoption.

User Adoption:

It is common for project details to be the focus of the timeline.

i.e. Jan 24 - data model complete, Feb 11 - measures and design complete, etc…

A typical timeline revolving around developmental goals forgets the core purpose of the project; and that is using the solution. Adoption trumps features. Building your timeline with adoption and usage measurement goals helps to establish bench marks for achieving the real intention behind your project.

What is the Benefit?

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Empower you Core Purpose

The core purpose of any BI project is the consumption and use of analytics. Creating your timeline with this purpose in mind gives power to pursue that purpose and helps focus in on optimizing for that goal in mind.


Encourage a Shift in Culture

Creating your timeline with adoption in mind helps influence your organization. Right from the start, you will be communicating to your users how they will be involved in the project creation. Testing and evaluation are a key part of project success, and it is paramount that your users are excited for this process.

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Enforce Regular Pulse Checks

Without user adoption being a core piece of your timeline, your project updates have far less meaning. They will mostly be held by and for IT and developers only. Including adoption and use in these regular timeline updates includes your users and executives by nature and helps add motive to push the project to completion.

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See Results Fast

An essential part to the project process with adoption in mind is prototyping. And prototyping allows your organization to see results and experience a taste of the end result fast. This further empowers, encourages, and enforces your culture shift.

What Are Some Important Pieces to Focusing on Adoption in Your Project Timeline?

1: Appointing Team Champions

The core piece to enabling your team to focus on user adoption is to appoint your team champions right from the get go. Assign your education leader, your development leader, a user side leader. After this establish the best communications channel between these champions. Clear communications rules and leaders leave few questions unanswered.

2: Establishing a Prototype Based Release Plan

This is a simple step that creates excitement around your new solution. Communicate clearly that there will be new prototypes at a regular interval. These prototypes will updated and based on intentional user feed back gathering.

3: Continuous User Enablement Programs

Every prototype release should be accompanied with a “cheat sheet”, a document that outlines the purpose and corresponding information that is found in each piece of your project. Additionally, a team leader will engage with users for feedback, send user experience surveys, provide education settings. The culture of analytics in your organization hinges upon nothing being left unknown. Having a clear education plan ensures that everything is known.

4: Clear Usage Measurement Goals

Your goals will define your success. There is no strict guidelines for exactly what numbers you are looking for, or what metrics are best to measure. But many reporting services have usage metrics built in for admins. PowerBI has this available in the admin portal for example. If you have reports going already and are wanting to expand your usage, be sure to measure your baseline. Then set a goal, 70% of your employees access analytics each day is a simple and fine first goal.

5: Clear Documentation

Documentation enables your users to be engaged in the process. Where does this data come from, and why is this one ‘one source of the truth’? How does your new reporting environment relate to before? Who has governance over each aspect? Each of these answers creates a consistent, predictable, and visible environment.

Whats Next?

From here your goal is to continuously enable and develop a culture of analytics within your organization. Enable your team to make decisions based on analytics. Empower those who do.

User adoption is one piece in the big picture of successful solution completion. I hope that its importance is not understated here.


Author, chris bradford

Power BI Coach

Honors in Mathematics/minor in Computer Science at University of Victoria.

Extensive problem solving and abstraction. Software development, report design.


Team FreshBI is an innovation machine and the blogs that Chris writes mostly emanate from the innovations that FreshBI does for its customers


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