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Knowledge transfer through key users

May 20, 2020


Planned for the implementation stage. 


The project and analysis team made up of specialists and employees of all departments in the company – preferably those open to change, whose zeal and enthusiasm will be their ally. Later on, these people should participate in talks with the system suppliers and then actively oversee the implementation by running training courses, as well as developing internal system manuals and operating procedures. Additionally, their responsibilities should include subsequent monitoring of the system operation and quality of data entered into the related databases as well as suggesting additional functional and organisational changes that appear in the course of the system operation.


Look at risk register


A plan of migration from the current tool (even if it exists, is it xls or the human mind)? You should be familiarised with sort of update at periodic project meetings by means of periodic reports on the programme's implementation progress, problems and errors.

A plan of utilisation of elements currently in place at the company (such as those used for the current ERP system) like servers, workstations, mobile devices as well as network and remote connections. Such use has been made essential by the economic calculation.

After that we have communication issue. Attention needs to be paid to the need to keep the personnel properly motivated, run an adequate number of training courses, as well as implement internal system operation procedures and manuals.

Here are some classic reactions to changes in work practices:

  • A natural fear of the unknown makes employees resist the new system just because it is new to them.

  • There will surely be some employees who are much more inquiring and open to change, who like trying something new.

  • Ambitious people who know the present system very well may feel their position is threatened, all the more so if the new system is much different from the old one. Particular attention should be paid to those employees – they should be the first to be trained and given enough support to ensure that their position at the company is not undermined.


Knowledge transfer through key users is a proven method of teaching a new system. The supplier trains only some people, who then pass on their knowledge. Those people are most often the ones who later get the highest system privileges and supply the ranks of functional administrators with such rights as cancelling documents. During the implementation stage, it is those key users who should be involved in overseeing whether the functionality ordered from a supplier is working in the modules implemented. This means that they should be aware of how the new system operates. Preferably, those users should be selected as early as during the stage of definition of expectations towards the system, as then they will surely get involved in developing the project and find such oversight easier, for these will be, in fact, their expectations. And there you are the other elements to bear in your mind:

  1. Project Manager. This must be a strong individual with strong support from the project sponsor from the very start.

  2. Sufficient manpower. If the implementation is to be carried out by people who at the same time must take care of their day-to-day responsibilities, they will surely handle those responsibilities first and then there will be no time left for the implementation. Any economising must be ruled out here.

  3. Provisions in implementation contracts. Therefore, where it is practicable, one should change provisions like "xxx training for 3 people shall last 3 days and cost yyy" to "In return for yyy, 3 people shall be trained in module xxx. The course completion criterion shall be zzz." Although it is very difficult to set up a good criterion, it does ensure saving time and avoiding disputes with the supplier in the future. It is essential to establish reliable milestones to monitor the progress of the implementation efforts. It is worthwhile to set up contractual penalties.

  4. Inaccurate provisions in service agreements. One must be very accurate when specifying what work is to be provided by the supplier under the warranty and what as part of a paid service. It is essential to set up a precise definition of a critical error so that the supplier cannot qualify the most troublesome failures as errors that can be rectified over much longer periods of time.

  5. No progress measures. The project breakthroughs must be precisely defined. If the supplier was supposed to complete 3 similar modules with the same team in 3 months and they declared that each of the modules would take them a month to complete, then during the implementation, one must not accept an explanation that the first module was the most difficult one and the other two would use fragments already developed. If that had been the case, then the supplier should have told us before they started the work. As they did not do so, it means they are making up excuses. This is the right moment to start and take some restructuring actions without any hesitation, rather than wait until the agreed deadline.

  6. Plan ‘B’. A contingency plan must be developed along with the main plan, for preparation to implement it can be virtually costless when done in parallel with the main plan but is very costly when late.

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