A role that nearly always evolves if it is not explicitly identified and does not have specific person(s) appointed to it is that of the “Power User,” also sometimes referred to as a “Super User.” Typically these are people with the aptitude to cross reference their normal job or process roles and the application of some possibly new technology or, for purposes of this blog, computer application or system. Power Users have the ability to do this, beyond that of the rest of the user community. What is important is how they are able to differentiate themselves. This is not to say that the other users are not, or will not become, proficient. It is simply that usually there are one or a few individuals for whom this ability to bridge the old and new ways comes quickly, and they can become leaders within the transition and implementation processes as a result.
Ideally Power Users people will nearly self-identify, or already be known for similar past contributions. This is not always the case, and some general guidelines can be applied to help identify these people as they add significant value over the life cycle of the project(s). What should you look for in a Power User?
· Open-mindedness with a thorough grasp of the current process(es), including strengths and weaknesses.
· Willingness to entertain and ability to envision how changes might be positive and value adding.
· Ability to communicate to others on the team regarding both current state and future state vision within the new context of new tools or systems.
· Ability to recognize problems, as well as patience to deal with and bring them to either a creative resolution or to the attention of higher leadership while still being supportive of the project overall.
· Ideally have the self-confidence to appropriately challenge things they believe may create problems, but also understand when to accept consensus or leadership decisions and help management move them forward.
· Ability to train and impart how to do things in as detailed a fashion as appropriate to other team members, probably on a continuing basis.
· Above average aptitude for the technological tools being employed in the project. Not afraid of new tools and able to transfer past experience with similar or complementary tools to the new ones. Examples: MS Windows, existing computer systems, keyboarding, mouse, handheld RF devices, tablets and similar devices.
Identifying and involving these people or likely candidates for the Power User role as early as possible will enhance planning for the project, scoping, testing, user documentation, and ultimately implementation. They will become first tier technical support during and after roll out. Ideally, Power Users will develop or help identify additional candidates for this role. They can reduce time to go-live and help control consulting costs as well.
Power Users exist! They just need to be identified, included and supported. They need support because they are often already the “go-to” people with the least time available to participate in such an important additional formal role and process.
Scott Brown CSCP, CPIM, CIRM
Supply Chain & Business Analyst