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Blog Post: Organizing Your Enterprise Social Networking Adoption Plan - A High Level Outline for Project Managers

If you have been tasked with managing the launch of your organization’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN), you have an exciting time in front of you. Based on my own experiences, I have created an outline containing the high level project categories you may include as you begin to create your own adoption plan. A brief explanation is provided and is in no way a comprehensive description of the numerous tasks and deliverables you will organize and implement in your plan. I have also included a high-level timeline diagram. You will notice it does not include dates. Instead, I am simply illustrating how certain parts of your schedule will overlap the other.

1. Knowledge Gathering
Before getting started, arm yourself with knowledge. Your core team will need to have a solid understanding in these four key areas:
  • Functionality
  • Administration
  • Configuration
  • Security

As you begin to work with other areas of the organization to build your project team, you will find yourself sharing this information repeatedly to different audiences. In fact, it is a good idea to prepare an introductory deck that organizes this information in this manner as well.

As a Project Manager, immerse yourself in the adoption process. Learn from others, benchmark their processes, but make your own decisions about the steps you will take for your organization’s launch.

2. Corporate Policies and Technical Review
The tasks in this category should allow you to review, understand and document the corporate policies that will govern your company's use of your ESN software. Consider your corporate guidelines and policies that are in place today. Reach out to your contacts who are familiar with these policies in your HR and Legal departments. Share the information you discovered during your Knowledge Gathering phase. Likewise, share the technical requirements with your corporation's hardware and enterprise software teams. Determine early on if and when any changes are needed before your pilot launch and company-wide launch. The information you gather during this stage is critical as it will help to define how you will plan the rest of the project.

3. Pilot or Soft Launch Planning
Now, here’s the fun part! Remember, you are implementing an adoption plan, not simply launching software. So, organize your tasks based on the actions required to support this new change in your organization. Think of your company’s culture, processes, and the communication resources you have today. Consider all of the major tasks associated with your pilot launch. How can you leverage your existing resources and identify the gaps that may present challenges during your execution?

Start with broad categories, then begin to create your sub-tasks. Here are a few broad categories to begin with:
  • Communication and Education Plans (Separate by Participants, Champions and Executives)
  • Pilot Champion Program Plans
  • Engagement and Analytics Plans
  • Administration, Configuration and Support Plans

4. Network and Technical Prep for Pilot Launch
The tasks in this category should include any action items required to prepare the network for use. Here are some questions to consider as you are creating tasks in this category:
  • What tasks are required to configure the network in a manner that satisfies your corporate security guidelines and electronic records policies?
  • What groups or communities should you create to allow your users to provide feedback during the pilot?
  • Where should users go to find help and educational resources in the network?
  • Does your current desktop image support your ESN’s plug-ins or will new software need to be pushed to each pilot participant?

5. Pilot Champion Engagement
The plans you made in category 3 require action. Consider all of the tasks required to execute your Pilot Champion Program. When will you start your Champion Kick-Off? When will your Champions be trained? How often will the training be delivered? Who will deliver the training? Tasks in this category should contain dates and persons responsible. In fact, it will look more like a schedule than a plan.

6. Pilot User Engagement (Pilot Launch)
During your Pilot Engagement planning in category 3, you decided to have network events and scheduled posts, for example. All of those events require dates, responsible persons, schedules and processes to execute. Include all of these tasks in this category. Similar to category 5, this will look like a series of schedules.

7. Company-wide Launch Planning
All of the Pilot planning sub-categories you created in category 3 will be included in your Company-wide Launch Plans, but the tasks will be prepared with your larger audience in mind. For example, you may consider expanding your Champion program to include additional adoption ambassadors for your launch. Likewise, your Communication plans will include a host of new tasks as you prepare to communicate through numerous forms of media. You should also include any new tasks required to maintain, govern and support your broader launch.

8. Pilot Assessment
Tasks in this category should support your upcoming launch. It is a “lessons learned” category that will require numerous reports to analyze your user feedback, stats and observed behaviors. The analytics used during this phase should lend to better launch planning in category 10.

9. Network and Technical Prep for Company-wide Launch
Just as you did in category 4, organize all of the tasks required to prepare your ESN and user hardware/software for your upcoming launch. Use the knowledge you gained during the pilot assessment to make adjustments to your ESN or content, whether it is educational materials or admin configuration. Make certain you are technically ready for the launch.

10. Champion Engagement for Company-wide Launch
Just as you scheduled your Pilot Champion activities and related activities, you will do the same for your company-wide launch. Organize the numerous schedules and related events for your expanded Champion Program.

11. Company-wide Launch (User Engagement)
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. The planning rubber is almost ready to hit the road. The tasks in this category will allow you to organize and schedule all of the plans you created during category 7 and will serve as your launch execution playbook.

© 2004-2023 Coretta Somerville