New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by looking.” While Berra was far from a technologist, his statement applies beautifully to the importance of pilot testing.

A pilot test gives you the opportunity to observe the unexpected before a full rollout to production. With the Citrix Workspace solution, we want to enable users to work the way they want, from wherever they are; therefore, achieving positive user feedback from a seamless rollout is crucial. As a Cloud Success Manager, I have helped my customers execute many successful pilots with different software products and have identified five key pointers that you don’t want to miss when conducting a pilot test.

  1. Define Success Measurements

Identify the reason for the pilot, and what the pilot will accomplish. This will help when identifying who should participate and the expectations. Additionally, as mentioned in our “Deployment Readiness” blog, you should have clear adoption and usage goals defined that the pilot can support.

  1. Identify Target Users

Champions are key influencers and are typically the first group of end users to use the new technology. All Champions should be included in the Pilot. In addition, you should include end users with different use cases to ensure thorough testing is done. I would recommend that you limit the size of your pilot group to 100 or 10% of your total user population (whichever number is smaller).

  1. Communicate the Plan to Users

Provide a clear explanation of why the change is taking place, why they were selected to take part in the pilot, the benefits of participating, and expectations.

  1. Conduct User Experience/Shadowing Sessions

Host at least two user experience or shadowing sessions to see how end users are using the new technology and to understand any pain points. I recommend one session a couple weeks after the pilot launch and another session three weeks before pilot close.

  1. Collect and Act on User Feedback

Collecting feedback should be an ongoing task throughout the pilot and can be accomplished in a variety of ways. I’ve worked with customers who have created a quick five-question survey, and others that created an email distro to monitor which encourages users to communicate feedback in the moment. Additionally, there should always be a scheduled meeting(s) to encourage live conversation and collaboration.

After gathering feedback, share how you are making changes based on their feedback to your pilot users.

Without conducting a pilot test, you risk missing the unexpected. As Berra said, take the time to take a look – your observations and changes will lead to a smooth rollout for the masses.

Need ideas on email communication to pilot users or creating a feedback survey? Check out a couple of templates here.

Our next blog in this enablement series will cover best practices on roll out to production. Stay tuned!

Katie Curtis
Sr. Cloud Success Manager