Assess your organization's readiness

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After you’ve secured your project team, the next step on your upgrade journey is to ensure that your organization and users are ready for Teams — an activity that you complete in parallel with ensuring your technical readiness. To realize value from Teams, users must actually use it. Simply enabling Teams doesn’t guarantee that you achieve your goal. Users have different use cases and varying learning styles, and they adapt to new technology at different speeds.

By assessing your organization’s readiness, you can determine how receptive (or not) your users are likely to be to changing the way they work and adopting new technology. Understanding how users react to change empowers your organization to proactively address concerns, adjust your rollout plan to get optimal buy-in, and identify users who can help you facilitate the change with their peers.

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Use the following conversation starters to conduct an organizational readiness assessment and document the culture of your organization when it comes to change. This information can help inform how much awareness and training you might need to implement for your project. Don’t worry about exact numbers. This exercise represents a general understanding of your organizational culture. If you're not sure where to start, evaluate a past rollout; this can help you anticipate how users might react to change and help you proactively address the reactions you expect.

  • What percentage of users fall into each bucket?

    Early adopters Informed users Laggards
    These users request the solution before it’s available. These users accept the solution as soon as its value is demonstrated. These users reject the solution, even when pushed into change.
  • What percentage of users fall into each competency?

    Self-motivated Team players Hand-holding seekers
    These learners seek out resources, learn by doing. These users enjoy group and interactive training; they’ll go along with coworkers. These users expect "white glove" or one-on-one assistance.
  • In addition to this service deployment, how many other changes are happening?

    Minimal Median Transformational
    None 1-3 More than 3

Organize this information by business unit and leader to categorize the segments of your company that are most open to change. That is where you will find early adopter candidates and processes that people are willing to take the risk to improve.

Activity icon Example activity for Contoso
Set up meetings with key business unit leaders, process owners, and communities in your organization. Make sure to include roles like executive assistants, office managers of remote locations, and regional field leaders. Use the Stakeholder Questionnaire to determine how much business and competitive pressure these leaders are under. What are they trying to accomplish within their areas of responsibility? Increase your business acumen by learning more about their needs and laying the foundation for further engagement. Directly after your meeting complete levels by individual or audience in the Stakeholder Engagement rating tool. This will allow you to quantify the areas of the business that are ready and willing to embark on the change journey with you. These ratings are subjective to some extent based on your assessment of the group or individual so ensure that this tool is not widely published. Instead use it to inform your adoption strategies, business scenario prioritization, and engagement methods with these individuals.

Stakeholder readiness and management

Communication and managing expectations are key elements in a successful change project. It's important to regularly communicate your overall vision and your progress toward that goal to your stakeholders and others in your organization. Stakeholders are people who have an interest in and influence over your project, regardless of rank. They may not have direct accountability for anything you're working on, but they are influential in the organization, especially if they decide to put up marked resistance to the change.

We recommend meeting directly with your stakeholders on a regular basis. Your goal at this point is to listen and learn additional information about their business. If you have a large adoption team, consider assigning individuals on your project team to manage key stakeholder relationships. Use the following questions to drive your stakeholder conversation:

  • What are some of the organization’s challenges or pain points related to communication and collaboration?
  • What are the areas in which your organization would like to improve?
  • What are the organization’s strategic initiatives or current transformation projects that Teams can support?
  • What methods of communication and collaboration are typically better received by your organization than others?
  • What is the process for drafting, distributing, and sharing information?

This initial interview provides a baseline for further interaction. Listen for pain points and perceptions so that you can craft successful communications and manage their expectations of what change can deliver and what impact that change will have on their day to day operations.

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Decide your rhythm and method for communicating with your stakeholders in alignment with your company culture. Target your communications to the various levels of engagement and interest across your organization.

Option: To create an ongoing knowledge base of information about your project, consider using news pages in your SharePoint communication site. Your news page library (site pages in the SharePoint site associated with your planning team) can be made public so they can be shared with all interested parties.

Ensure you are not only sending regular status reports via both traditional email and potentially using SharePoint News pages but leverage other methods of communications such as:

  • Periodic, dedicated 1:1 meetings
  • Leadership meetings
  • Staff or all-hands meetings
  • Virtual broadcasts
  • Hold stakeholder office hours separate from those you hold for employee questions
  • Inclusion in company news or newsletters
  • Articles on your internal intranet

All of these methods can be utilized to keep your stakeholders informed and aligned and provide them with a forum to provide you direct feedback on your success and methods. Ensure you are probing for areas of discontent, especially in 1:1 meetings, to avoid them being aired for the first time in public forums. That being said, encourage open and honest feedback from everyone.

Activity icon Activity for Contoso
Work with your project team to craft a presentation for your stakeholders. Ensure IT participation in your core messages. Use Microsoft resources to ensure you are sharing information about services you have and intend to deploy like Microsoft Teams. The core message of this presentation, which you can do in person (preferably) with a virtual component for your remote leaders via a Teams Meeting or Live Event, is to show how your proposed technology and change rollout will address the pain points you heard about when you met with stakeholders and end users. Use this meeting as an opportunity to get feedback and volunteers for early Proof of Concept pilot projects and participants in your Early Adopter program. Set expectations as to timelines (30-60 days) and time commitments (1-2 hours per week) to ensure you are getting the proper feedback into your end-user adoption program.