Beneficiary Management System
Part 4

Implementation of the Beneficiary Management System, Lessons Learned

When planning the Implementation of the Beneficiary Management Systems (BMS) it is best to consider this part of the journey as a change management project. Suppose we have done everything correct in the process of developing the BMS: the processes of application, decision and development of beneficiaries are reflected correctly in the system, the data requirements are thoroughly examined and the software provides the necessary capabilities for capturing, accessing, using and reporting important data in a user friendly form. Still the process of implementation of a new software may experience certain difficulties and there are important factors that should be considered in advance to ensure a smooth transition to everyone happily adopting and using the new software. We should separate these factors into three groups: technical, process/data and human related.

Technical Factors

product warrantyIf the system is developed according to the principles of the modern agile approach, all functionalities would be tested not only by the software development company but also by a dedicated team from the client. This process allows for on-time corrections of functionalities to match the expectations and the needs of the users. At the time of implementation of the software there should be no surprises…theoretically. But in reality, depending on the number of users and complexity of the BMS version there is still a chance that something might not work as expected. The reasons may include undiscovered bugs, unexpected difficulties with connectivity and other. Although these situations do not happen often, ensuring a warranty period with the provider can definitely mitigate the negative consequences should something like this occur.

Process / Data Related Factors

In our experience we have noticed that people naturally think of the most typical situations, user actions and data processing when describing their expectations of a system. In reality however processes may not be applied as described or there may be certain exceptions of the user actions or data collection which, although rare, may not be considered during development of the software. If discovered after the software is already operational, this can lead to understandable frustration. However, to resolve the problem either the users need to be creative and find workarounds (which can cause other problems), or additional programming work will be required which adds time and cost to the project of implementation. This challenge is often unpredictable. The best approach to addressing this challenge it prevention, such as talking to as many potential users as possible and taking their view on what could in reality work differently than the prescribed processes, or asking directly what might work differently in practice or where it is possible to have an exception. With time we have found that experienced consultants, or business process analysts can be very helpful in this regard with their developed skill to sniff such possible deviations

“experienced consultants, or business process analysts can be very helpful”

who wants to change The Human Aspects

Human Related Factors

Not everyone will typically be happy to start working with new software. There is always the learning curve that requires extra effort outside the comfort zone of a person. To address this, we have found that clients who exercise a change management approach manage to implement the solution easier, with less effort and with minimum resistance and struggle from users. Some of the lessons learned about this include

  • Create positive expectations by building awareness of what the new software would do and what are the reasons of its introduction to the company. Stress the benefits of the system and WIIFM (what is in it for me) for different target groups. Awareness creates desire which leads to less resistance at implementation

  • Involve representatives from different types of users in the process of defining requirements, testing and providing feedback. One of the benefits of that is that the software functionalities are considered better and on time. But the other aspect is that, when happy with what they experience, these people spread the word across the organization. This could be combined with communication strategy to ensure visibility of the project.

  • Spend enough time and effort to train people using variety of methods: online and/or face-to-face training, mentorship and availability for questions and support during the inevitable difficulties until people feel comfortable with the software. Having a team of “super users”, mentors or peer coaching techniques can have a strong effect on the ability of users to come to grips with the software and to minimize their frustration or resistance.

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