Super Users- When, Who, What

We all know people are what make a project successful, so what todays blog attempts to address is how to pick good people and how to set them up for success.

In my training classes I recommend putting a super user from each department on the project team. I am almost always immediately asked these 3 questions:

  1. When should I get the super user involved?
  2. Who should be a super user?
  3. What exactly is their role supposed to be so I can set clear expectations?

Today’s blog is designed to answer those 3 questions.

So let’s start with point
# 1. When to engage them?

The best time to engage super users is after the business case and ROI assessments have already been developed but before the project kicks off. Usually super users don’t get involved until after a project charter has already been approved and the project has been kicked off. But you will want to make sure you include them at the beginning of the project because, although the shouldn’t be involved in the development of the business case,  it is important to validate it with you super users  because they are the ones who will most likely be using the system and they will be your closest representation of actual end users.

So, #2.  How do you pick a super user?

There are some key characteristics that make better super users than others. People who are well networked within the organization and are respected by their peers and who want to make a difference in the organization that they are committed to.

You need to make sure that your super user has the courage to speak up for what they believe in and you want them to be seen as the go to people and the opinion makers.

It’s important that super users have a broad understanding of the organization and how it works and they should be able to translate the overall change vision into the “What’s In It For Me” scenario for their local team or department.

The most important thing is that you want super users who really feel passionate about change but have the ability to be empathetic to the behavior shift that their colleagues are going to have to undertake.

And last but not least. Super User Image

It’s really important that they’re tuned into the mood of the area or department in which they are going to be overseeing. These are going to be your people who are going to identify resistance to change and they will also be the educators that are going to help communicate the gaps between the business and the system implementation to really drive user adoption.

Which leads us to point #3. What exactly is a user super user supposed to do?

They are you number one line to the departments buying in and using the system!

They should have input on all decisions during the planning and development phases of any technology rollout.  This means they should attend weekly project status meetings, or at a very minimum the milestone demos showcasing progress. If you wait till the end and train them, they will inevitably request many changes and your project will be delayed.

They are there to represent their group or department. This is often why they are considered the subject matter experts during the project. They will give feedback on how things should work and what the day to day life of that role is after the project.

After the technology is developed they should be the ones doing the user acceptance testing. After all, they know their job better than the I.T. group or the analyst and they’re going to be the ones that will understand the real world implications.

Post testing and go live super users become the first line of defense for their team. Therefore they should know how to troubleshoot basic issues. They should be very empathetic and be able to teach (‘read as handhold’) everyone in their department.

feedback loop Additionally they should be involved in the ongoing updates and upgrades for future enhancements. Keeping them engaged in ongoing enhancements empowers them within their group and further strengthens the value of the tool and the adoption. There must be a feedback loop! Super users are the human beginning of the that feedback loop.


Getting the right people on the project is key to user adoption.

Want to learn more about creating a good feedback loop or driving user adoption through good internal communications? Register for the CRMUG Academy – Marketing Change Within Your Organization Mar 2018

Happy changing!

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