The SuperUser Experience
Users further down the chain will be much more receptive to receiving training and support from a colleague they know rather than from an outside trainer. They understand what their colleagues are trying to achieve through using the system, and will be able to comprehend problems they encounter in the context of the business process they are attempting to complete. Conversely, staff are hostile to receiving training from a team member who explains and uses language from a technical or text-book perspective the users are not familiar with. Superusers may not have formal training certification but they will more than make up for in their understanding of the business processes the new functionality supports. In addition to this, staff acting as superusers speak the same ‘language’ as their colleagues. They can translate system ‘jargon’ (“techie gobbledygook”!) into language all their colleagues can understand.
The SuperUser Location
Superusers need to be co-located with the other users that require training. This makes it logistically easier for them to deliver training and support face-to-face. It is difficult to quantify how much more successful face-to-face training is. Two colleagues sitting side-by-side at a desk, looking at a screen together, pointing to it, sharing their papers and notes and working through a process or problem together usually yields more effective results. An online training module or a live chat with the service desk can be cold and often time limited. Plus staff are more likely to ask for help from a colleague they see and trust, then call service desk. It means users will seek support sooner, before their frustration builds and before they have inadvertently created a complicated mess! System uptake is positively impacted, as users are emboldened because they can ask for support from their colleagues if needed.
Saving Money and Time
Firstly, train the trainer can have notable cost-saving implications. Seasoned project managers know very well, the healthy training budget is squeezed mid-project as money intended for training is reallocated to pay for scope and change requests. Training therefore often has to be delivered within a very tight budget. Superusers may not receive any tangible compensation, though the benefit to them individually in terms of recognition and career progression helps. In contrast to professional trainers or the project business analysts, whose time may be very expensive. Moreover, the help they provide continues indefinitely once business-as-usual resumes. It does not necessarily end when the project ends or the budget runs out.
Secondly, the adoption of a superuser approach can save the project team and service desk an inordinate amount of time. Superusers help divert user issues away from the support teams, freeing them to resolve genuine defects and problems.
The Broader Role of Superusers
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