3 Steps for Successful LMS Implementation - Part I

The Key Drivers for Successful LMS Implementation Part 1

In my previous blog post, 'The Secret to Successful Client Onboarding', I spoke about achieving smooth client onboarding for your LMS initiative. While handholding and helping clients take the first critical steps to LMS success sets the tone for the relationship, the final victory is in the details. And it all begins with LMS implementation.

3 Steps to Successful LMS Implementation

There are many factors in an LMS' implementation that have proven to be key contributors to the overall success of a Learning Management System.  These include things like thorough testing, on-time and on-budget delivery, open communication, involvement of key stakeholders etc. But there is a lot more than these that contribute to a successful LMS implementation.

LMS implementation can be broken down into 3 phases. The first is related to preparation, which is also called 'Planning'. While one may be aware of the steps pertaining to 'traditional planning' that go into the LMS implementation, there are a few additional points that should also be considered during the first phase.

In this 2 blog post series, I will take you through the first step of the LMS Implementation process.

(a) Step 1: Planning

  1. Project Strategy as per the Business Case: It is important to define the project strategy as per the business case before proceeding with the implementation. It should revolve around the business case and the business need leaving scope for a positive change. Things like who all will be involved at the client and vendor end, frequency of review meetings, UATs, technical discussions, etc. should be defined clearly to set the correct expectations at either end.
  2. For a simple project, client's involvement might not be needed at the same level as in a complex project. Meaning, if a project requires integration with various systems then high level of involvement from various teams from the client’s end is essential. Whereas in a simple project with minimal or no integration or an out-of-box SaaS system, the client’s involvement might not be that high.
  3. Flexible Process to Adapt to Client’s Working Style: Though there should be a set of standardized processes for any software development and implementation, adaptability is important, for both - the process and the project. It's counter effective to have rigid processes that can create more hassles than ease. The processes should be adaptive so it becomes easier for both the teams to adopt and work.
  4. Thorough Planning and Iterative Approach: Good planning lays the foundation for a successful project and an LMS is no exception. When it comes to LMS planning, there are various aspects to be considered like the stakeholders involved, the communication plan, a rollout schedule, the technicalities of setup etc. While thorough initial planning covering minute details is important, in today's dynamic age, the planning should be done with scope of changes later.
  5. Businesses today are seeing an increasing need to rapidly adapt to changing environments. An iterative approach is not just recommended but even needed for the success of the LMS initiative, which make the Agile approach for LMS designing and development a must-have. Agile model, while ensuring new version releases in incremental, rapid cycles, puts emphasis on people and interactions rather than process and tools, and drives customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software.
  6. Scalability and Configurability: Due consideration to probable future requirements should also be given in the planning phase. The LMS should be scalable not only in terms of concurrency of users but also in terms of supporting new features. For example, a client may implement the LMS for a single department or a region initially with a long term plan to rollout globally. In this case, the system should be scalable to cater to the additional users, load and configuration changes. In the same example, one department might be utilizing a feature like classroom training which is not used by any other department that delivers only eLearning. The LMS should be easily configurable for such setup requirements too.

Once the preparation is done, comes 'Review and Collaboration', and the final 'Rollout'.  In the next post, we will see what these 2 final steps of the LMS Implementation process comprise and what is needed to ensure their success.