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As a member of an implementations team, your role in the rollout of new software is crucial — if the people who will be using the software don’t understand how to use it, the software is a huge waste of money for the company and becomes a source of frustration and friction. Especially in healthcare tech, where people’s health and lives could be at stake, it’s urgent to ensure that this process is well-executed. In order to ensure that the process of training and implementing new software goes smoothly, there are some important keys to hit and some important pitfalls to avoid. 

Learn what problems the new software is supposed to solve. Knowing the purpose of the software change and the intended goals will help you tailor the presentation towards those objectives. Doing this step well could take weeks or even a month or two, since it involves an in-depth knowledge of their old system and exactly how the new system will make life easier for the clients. Especially for helping overcome the inertia of “things are fine the way they are,” helping your audience understand that the issues that plague them with the current system will make them more open to learning a new software.

You’ve got to get the buy-in. A common problem in trying to implement new software is that the leaders, both hierarchically and socially, are either passive to your cause or working against you for any insundry of reasons. Find the key influencers in the community and make sure they understand the purpose of the software overhaul. That way, they can help rally around your cause and make the implementation easier.

Don’t let the room get away from you. During the actual rollout of the product, you’ll likely have an outline of what you need to be teaching to the room and all the processes and features of the tech. Of course, it’s important to answer questions, pause for feedback, and roll with the vibe of the room. There’s a lot to cover in very little time, however, so it’s important to find a balance between listening empathetically and imparting all the necessary knowledge onto your audience. Members of the audience could easily get carried away with personal anecdotes or extremely minute complaints. As the implementations person, though, it’s your job to stay on track.

Shoot for the lowest common denominator, but not lower. Teaching professional adults differs from teaching children in that adult have much better reasoning skills. The last part of the brain to develop is the part that has to do with consequences and foresight, so teaching adults how to use a program will require less hand-holding. By the same token, though, it’s important that you address the crowd where it is. Especially for teaching healthcare software, which is notoriously behind the times technologically, users may not be as up-to-speed on modern computer programs and commands. To avoid frustration and rage-quitting, make sure you don’t move too quickly for the room by ramping up the technicality of the vocabulary very slowly and cautiously.

Be conscious of local social norms. If you’re coming in to do an implementations run from out of town, it’s important to be aware of how different cultures react to behaviors. In New England, for example, the people with whom you work will likely value efficiency over pleasantries. On the other hand, some southern cultures won’t take kindly to direct orders. Staying alert to the intricacies of interactions and social dynamics will ensure that you don’t commit any cultural faux-pas.

Be ready to field extremely specific questions and feedback. Most adults know how to find answers to the basic questions they’ll have when learning a new software program by asking google to tapping a more tech-savvy coworker. By the time they come to you for a question, they’ve likely tried everything that common sense would dictate and are at the end of their ropes. A recent publication in the Harvard Business Review found customer support ratings overall have plummeted for this very reason, and the best way to improve them is to ensure that you and your implementations team is rock-solid on the technicalities of the tough stuff.

Document and analyze feedback to implement even better next time. All those surveys afterwards and written reports do no good if you don’t harness all that information to make your presentation better next time. Where did you move too fast or slow? Did you speed through concept and dawdle through technique? Were there enough opportunities for the audience to ask questions and play with the new systems? Analyze and utilize this feedback to make the next implementations gig even more useful to the audience.