In the final instalment in our Citrix Cloud Success series (parts one here and two here), we’re devoting this post to your project timeline. Anyone who has managed any project ever will know just how important it is to have a detailed timeline and sticking to it. By targeting specific objectives, you’ll find it easier to tick the boxes as you go along. Create a spreadsheet with every objective and the individual tasks, what their statuses are, their due date and the priority you assign them with.

Objective one: achieve deployment readiness

Firstly, it’s important to identify your sponsors (leaders) who have influence over your end-user groups, before setting their expectations for the role. Executive sponsors are tasked with explaining the decision of the Citrix Cloud deployment, what the benefits are and what the risks are of not changing. To help end-users adapt to the changing technology, managers and supervisors should convey messages related to the day-to-day impact that the technology will enable. By also performing impact assessments for each end-user group, it will help you to decide how much support they will need, while also identifying potential resistance points that you can build into your change plan and communications. It’s important to set clear milestones to be able to determine what a successful deployment will look like in terms of ROI.

To help drive adoption and usage, you’ll need to designate your user champions by setting up a programme. Ideal champions are those who are natural influencers with the technical skills and a strive for improvement. You should identify one champion in each user group, and one champion for every 20 users. Hosting a kick-off with champions and executive sponsors to explain what’s happening will pinpoint the benefits of the deployment for the organisation, and what the role of ‘user champion’ will entail. Look at it like a chance to get them excited about being the first to benefit from the transformation, and to have their views heard by getting them to help shape the project.

Objective two: implement your pilot

Your user pilot group will obviously include your user champions, so that they can support other end users as they’re added. Communicate what’s changing to the pilot group, why they’ve been selected in particular, the benefits of their participation, and what they’ll be expected to do. By running user experience or shadowing sessions from early in the project timeline, users will know exactly what the technology will do when it has been rolled out. It will also help you to better understand any pain points and correct the course with enough time.

Your pilot training should;

  • Include hands-on practice
  • Be tailored to each audience
  • Have clear success criteria
  • Regularly reiterate the reasons for, and benefits of, the change

The feedback from your pilot group will be crucial in shaping the following planning of your Citrix Cloud deployment. As you gather the feedback, work to ensure that communication is ongoing throughout the pilot phase, and by reminding your pilot users how important their opinions are. Gather feedback via email, website, Skype etc, while also scheduling regular formal feedback meetings. Make sure to let your pilot users know when you’ve taken their feedback into account and remember to update your communications or training materials to reflect the changes.

Objective three: roll out to all users

The success of every rollout project depends on effective communication with all end users. Your project team will create a plan that sets out your key communications, the topic, messaging and delivery date for each, as well as the person responsible for sending them. Ask your champions for their input on your communication plan, while providing positive testimonials that you can include in the communications themselves. Always start your communications by explaining why you’re changing things, and the benefits that the Citrix Cloud deployment will bring to your organisation and the end-users. Make sure to support end-users by informing them of where they can find training material and the designated champions who they can go to for help.

End-user training should happen just before, and as soon as, the rollout goes live to give users the chance to get hands-on experience with the new technology. As your project team develops your training plan, make sure to get input from your champions. Tailor every training session to its specific audience, and begin each by reviewing why you’ve decided to deploy Citrix Cloud and the benefits of it. Make sure to monitor the usage of the training material and continue to update them throughout the project and beyond. Gathering feedback is just as important at this stage of the rollout. Use the same methods for gathering as you did with the pilot groups.

And with that, your Citrix Cloud success is guaranteed. End-users will delight in the new technology and the improved productivity that it delivers, while your IT team can easily manage and maintain your new cloud environment. But while your end-users are certainly a priority for every IT project, it takes much more behind the scenes to get a cloud deployment from planning stage to live. If Citrix Cloud sounds like a product that your organisation could benefit from, make sure to have a chat with our experts; after all, we are a Citrix Platinum Partner with years of experience. Also, make sure to check in with our events page, where we regularly host free workshops and webinars to share the Citrix knowledge.

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