Launching your Digital Workplace

Preparation

Creating a launch plan

The first step in your launch strategy is a creating a plan. Your launch plan should be your guide to a successful launch of your digital workplace solution. It is strongly recommended to create a multi-disciplinary launch team which consists of team members who have specific roles, responsibilities and expertise.  Generally, it takes a couple of weeks to create a launch plan and another two to four weeks for preparation before launch. 

Here are some key items to get your started on the right foot:

  • Build your launch plan which includes a schedule, resources, timing, funding, outcomes, and risks
  • Determine if you're going to do a pilot, soft launch, or full launch
  • Set your goals for launch - pre and post 
  • Use a methodology like SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) to ensure your plan is realistic and attainable
  • Make sure your goals align with the objectives of your digital workplace strategy (e.g. employee engagement, productivity, communications, collaboration, culture).
  • Interview key stakeholders (e.g. sponsor, advocates, business owners) for feedback on your plan, and ask for participation in the launch

Building your launch team

You're going to need to assemble a strong launch team to help you with all the details leading up to launch day plus launch execution. Here are some helpful tips on building the right team for your launch project:

  • Summarize the key roles and responsibilities for your launch strategy
  • Create a skills map summarizing the knowledge, skills, and abilities you need
  • Identify key candidates available within your organization
  • Don't be afraid to hire a consultant if resources and/or skills are not available internally
  • Be sure to have "back-up" candidates for every role
  • Ensure you have a project manager on the team to manage the schedule, milestones and tasks

Your launch team should be cross-functional (e.g. project manager, marketing, design, promotions), so start assembling your team as soon as possible. Securing the right team won't be easy - expect a lot of meetings, conversations, and convincing. Think of it as an interview process.

  • Meet with each candidate and describe the role, responsibilities, and time commitment.
  • Ensure each member has the right skills and resources.
  • Check on resource availability and confirm. 
  • Summarize the overall launch plan with the team, including key milestones, tasks, timelines, expected outcomes, and potential risks.
  • Set out individual action plans for each key role.

Planning for engagement

Organizations expect their employees to embrace their new digital workplace. However, change management will be your biggest hurdle for adoption. Expect some employees to resist a new way of doing things. Understanding this is crucial to ensuring that no one is left behind. Addressing the potential alarm and opposition proactively will lead to a better launch. 

  • Make your launch fun
  • Make it easy to join in
  • Celebrate activity
  • Be sure to have advocates to spread the word and help others
  • Highlight the business benefits

Identifying potential risks

Every plan, no matter how good, has risks. Meet with your team and identify any potential risks to the launch strategy and work on possible solutions.

  • Funding
  • Executive sponsorship
  • Resourcing
  • Timing
  • Blockers
  • Competing projects

Creating a measurement plan

The only way to determine success is measurement. In your plan, make sure you have outlined your criteria for success and how to measure it. The most common success criteria in the early stages of launch include:
  • Unique logins
  • User views
  • Comments
  • Downloads
  • Profile completion
  • Messages
  • Subscriptions
  • User flows

As your digital workplace matures, you'll want to create more sophisticated criteria for success. 

Launch Day

It's time to launch

This can be one of the most stressful days of your life. Months of work and planning have gone into launching your digital workplace. There's lots riding on a successful launch. To help you get through the day, here are some handy items to help you coordinate "all the things" on launch.

Setting up a pre-launch meeting

Set up your pre-launch meeting a week before launch with your team. This will give you time to resolve any unknown issues or complete any final launch day tasks.

  • Review the launch plan and distribute a launch checklist
  • Confirm projects and tasks are complete
  • Identify and resolve issues
  • Review roles and responsibilities with each team member
  • Hype the team - get them excited

Schedule a launch day meeting

Set up an early morning meeting with your project team to go over the final details of the launch. Ensure there are no issues or risks for launch (e.g. technical glitch or competing corporate event).

  • Review your launch checklist
  • Ensure everyone is clear on their roles, responsibilities, and tasks
  • Review the escalation process in the event of any issues or emergencies
  • Check monitoring/analytics systems that measure adoption
  • Confirm that your IT team is ready to turn the site live when notified
  • Launch site when ready, and be sure to thank your team for all their hard work

Setting up a war room

It's time to press the button. Contact your IT team to flip the switch to make your new digital workplace go live. Before you push the button, ensure all your promotional and feedback programs are live. Also, it is great practice to set up a "war room"for the day so your team can manage any issues that arise: 

  • Technical glitches
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Executive feedback
  • Configuration mishaps (e.g. permissions to an area or inability to login)

Testing feedback loops

Ensure your project team(s) are available to help field questions from users during launch week based on the feedback loops you've initiated. Do a test run before the launch to ensure they are working properly. Do a mock session: submit a suggestion and monitor how your teams respond. Provide feedback and make any changes necessary. 

Celebrate with your team

It's time to take a deep breath and celebrate all your hard work.  Be sure to take some time to celebrate with your team and users. Recognize and acknowledge your key contributors to the project with:

  • Thank you message on your digital workplace
  • Special gifts (e.g. small gesture of appreciation like a t-shirt, mug, or plaque)
  • Personal thank you message - in person

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