Beginning of June, I received Michael Sampson‘s brand new "User Adoption Strategies" book.

User Adoption Strategies BookIn the 260+ pages (as stated, "I want this to be a book you can read quickly and apply rapidly.", which I can confirm), Michael explains why there’s a need for a user adoption strategy (simply said "What is the biggest complaint around the introduction of new collaboration technologies into a group or organization? The answer: No one uses them."), and provides a quite simple process with multiple strategies (you don’t have to use all of them, but of course can select the ones that are relevant and suitable for your enterprise). While it took me a while to finish reading the book due to time constraints, during the actual times that I could read it, I didn’t want to stop. The author truly holds his promise that it’s a book to "read quickly and apply rapidly".

The first chapter explores the basics and explains the need for user adoption strategies. Particularly interesting here (and generally in the whole book) is that Michael focuses on what he calls the "Second Wave People", the people who have use the new technology as it is provided, and did not participate in an "early adopter" stage. The reason behind this is that these people form the majority of all users in a company, and these are the ones that need to be "convinced" the most. This is what make the book so useful, as you will generally have to put in more effort into engaging these users than others!

Chapter three goes on to explain the change processes that are involved, and the author provides a short roadmap with explanations for each step. Afterwards, he describes how people nowadays collaborate with each other.

Chapter 5 onwards contains the real gems! In here, Michael first describes a four stage process to get users engaged, and describes multiple strategies for each stage in the following chapters. In itself, the "Four Stages" are a very simple, but well thought through and powerful process:

Four Stages

Michael dedicates a chapter to each stage, and provides 3-6 (18 in total) different strategies for each stage. Not only does he list them, but he lays out in detail what they, how to use them, why to use them, and why they work, all usually backed up by data gathered from his survey.

(Excerpt from index)

What I enjoyed most from the book is the way Michael explains these strategies. Not only do you get to know how they work, but also when to apply them (in which situation), and why they actually help you. All that written in a very understandable language filled with lots of examples, making it easy for you to grasp the concepts immediately when you read about them. While reading, a few times I thought "why didn’t I think about this before!". These aren’t complex frameworks for which you need to read and think a lot beforehand to understand them, and neither does it take a lot of time to apply them.

(Excerpt from the book)

As I said, the strategies are usually backed up by survey data, which Michael acquired by conducting a global survey with more than 400 responses. Those strategies are not just theoretical concepts, but proven strategies!

My recommendation: go and order the book (US$39 incl. shipping), in my opinion it’s a must have for anyone who is planning to implement SharePoint( or already has), or more generally speaking works on an IT project and wants to improve the user adoption!

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