Leading up to CA World 2016, the CA PPM Services team will highlight some hot topics in this community blog. The blogs will focus on upcoming software functions, stories from road warriors and best practices from thought leaders. We hope you’ll keep on the lookout for upcoming featured content, share with other practitioners, and contribute to the conversation. We look forward to engaging directly with you!
A few years ago I spoke at CA World on the topic of improving the user experience to increase business value. This widely accepted concept is more important than ever, so I will highlight key points about process and system usability in my first few posts. This topic is appropriate at all stages of system and process deployment, and my goal is to share tips and tricks that we can adapt and adopt in our organizations.
The reality is that for any process or system to bring true value, it must be adopted, and to be adopted, it needs to be right for our organizations; and that means that it has to be right for the people in our organizations.
Why do so many organizations struggle to mature and innovate with their processes and systems? The “Value Enablement Layer” image below, represents the touch point where business value is experienced, enabled through usability.
From the PPM perspective, the touch point is where we enter status reports, project risks and issues, and resource requests. It’s also where we conduct portfolio-level analysis and capacity planning for improved decision making.
We most often focus on the technical and functional aspects, but when we discuss efficiencies and innovation, the conversation must address the people who use the system and processes. And when we’re working with people, the rules of engagement need to demonstrate expertise in organizational readiness, and an understanding of the effect of change.
Organizational readiness is a foundational tool to successfully mature PPM practices, and when people become the center of the solution’s architecture, all the pieces fall into place. Knowledge of organizational readiness best practices, the support of corporate leaders and clear communication of the value of the change, enables positive business outcomes. Other than technical constraints or a lack of process standards, the main issues that arise post-deployment are training, missed requirements, lack of use or dismissal of value . . . and these are all people issues. A holistic approach to the implementation lifecycle, including user-centric system configuration and process alignment, would look like this:
Usability consultant Jakob Nielsen and computer science professor Ben Shneiderman have written (separately) about a framework of system acceptability, where usability is a part of "usefulness" and is composed of:
- Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
- Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
- Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they re-establish proficiency?
- Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
- Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?
When measuring these efficiencies in PPM, the following metrics can help guide us:
- A focus on people (end users) throughout the implementation lifecycle
- Click counts between system and process
- Velocity of system and process steps
- User surveys and intuitive GUI reviews
- Beta and change request feedback
- Data compliance and audit requirements tied to reporting
- KPIs tied to business outcomes
As PPM system and process practitioners, we can greatly improve the value of a solution for our organizations by focusing on these suggestions for helping people through adoption strategies.