This chapter opened with a description of a company that had considerable difficulty rolling out an important new system to its portfolio analysts. The cause of the problem was lack of consideration for the classes of users. Also, training prior to the rollout was not emphasized to the degree that it should have been.

Three factors that affect the fit of the application and the end user include the relative advantage, technical complexity, and compatibility of the system from the end user's perspective. Systems developers often neglect to consider these elements properly. They have become more important over time as information technology has evolved from central control to the democratization of computing, putting users in direct contact with both input and output.

Furthermore, the advent of business process reengineering and client/server computing has created additional users out of those who formerly handed off computer contact to others. The use of systems prototyping and gaining early user feedback are critical to successful system rollout. Also, the development of a usability lab can be an effective tool to assess user reaction before systems roll out. Multiple interfaces to handle different classes of users are also helpful.

Organizations should preplan training programs to be implemented before new systems are rolled out. Training should emphasize flexibility of timing and approach, and should be carefully tailored to the intended audience. People learn differently depending on their individual cognitive styles. One size does not fit all; yet in many cases this truth is not heeded because of timing or cost considerations. The stakes are high when the hidden costs of a user workstation exceed the known costs — a situation greatly influenced by lack of proper attention to the usability of systems and effective training programs.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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