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Posted Thursday, June 23, 2016 by Rich Bowlen

How to Assemble a "Justice League" of Tech Teams

Having the right people on a technology implementation team is make or break for project success. Too often in human services, the right people aren’t involved from the beginning and by the time the project hits end users, it’s dead in the water.

In our experience, assembling a clearly defined team is the first step toward increasing user adoption when it comes to technology. While the number of people involved may differ depending on the size of your agency and the scope of the project, the general makeup should be the same.

We’ve identified four categories of members who should be included in your technology implementation team, as well as how to evaluate who should fulfill each role:

Executive Leader

  • Justice League equivalent: Superman (or Super Girl!)
  • What will they do? Technology implementation is a business project, not an IT one, so it needs to be driven by an executive leader who can establish goals, set expectations, and connect the project to your agency’s overall vision. This person will provide strategic oversight during implementation, but assign a head coach to drive the day-to-day project details.
  • Who should it be? The leadership role is critical in helping your organization understand the importance of the project and gaining broad buy-in, so this person must be able to provide timely and effective communication that explains how the technology will help workers in their daily jobs.

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Head Coach

  • Justice League equivalent: Batman
  • What will they do? The head coach is responsible for making the implementation successful, according to the goals established by the executive leader. Usually a program administrator, manager, or supervisor, this person will oversee the project progress, encourage user adoption, troubleshoot challenges associated with existing policies and procedures, and assemble resources to help with different pieces of the project.
  • Who should it be? The head coach needs to be a strong, authoritative leader who is well-respected in your organization. Look for someone who understands both sides (business and technology) of the project, can establish solid team consensus, and can balance between focusing on the future and managing day-to-day project details.

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Assistant Coaches

  • Justice League equivalent: Wonder Woman, The Flash
  • What will they do? As staff begin to utilize new technology, assistant coaches lead professional skill development, provide mentoring throughout implementation, and collect feedback that can be passed back to the head coach. These crucial team members are able to help solve problems before they even start.
  • Who should it be? Assistant coaches need to be influential among their peers, but not necessarily considered authority figures within your organization. These team members have to be able to listen to and empathize with end users’ problems and frustrations, plus be able to communicate them back to the leadership and project implementation teams.

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In addition to the coaches, don't forget to assemble a project management team that's rounded out with various individuals and departments who will be involved throughout the implementation process, such as IT staff, trainers, peer advocates, and other key roles in your organization. Together, this team is responsible for making sure the project stays on track and hits important milestones. That means all members of this team need to understand the technology, have good time management skills, and be able to meet deadlines.

With the right people involved at the right time, you will have your very own team of superheroes who can ensure the success of your technology project by increasing user adoption.

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Ready to assemble your agency’s Justice League?

Use the worksheet below to identify team members, and download our field guide to user adoption for more tips.

Tech Team Worksheet Preview

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Rich Bowlen Rich Bowlen is Director, Protective Services at Northwoods, where he is dedicated to improving the lives of caseworkers and social workers. Rich has 25 years serving in child protective services and is known for his passion for improving the lives of children.
 

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