How do you deliver a social care case management system implementation in the height of a pandemic? How do you keep the project plan on track and in budget without sacrificing quality when almost the entire organisation is working remotely and the project team have limited access to staff from the business?
Solution:Firstly, you need extensive experience in social care delivery. Secondly, you need an ability to work creatively and to innovate. Finally you need hard work and sheer determination to find a way past all the obstacles put in your path on a daily basis.
Supporting the implementation of a new adult social care case management system, Liquidlogic LAS / ContrOCC , covering every single aspect of the directorate’s social care and financial recording, including multiple interfaces and portals in a single, ‘big bang’ Go Live was always going to be a challenge.
The BetterGov project team had to figure out a way to continue to undertake data migration testing and configuration design and testing for the final two rounds of UAT, plus complete dry run testing and go live itself with minimal input from the business.
Then there was the small matter of 700 staff to train on the new system and support through Go Live and Early Life…
Our solution? Harness available technologies to come up with creative alternatives. To start with, we established fairly quickly in the Configuration and Testing Workstreams that staff worked best when using MS Teams in small groups and in shorter sessions. We were able to focus work with a small group of specialist staff, working around their availability and in short development sprints.
Training was modelled on the same approach. Short bursts designed in way to give staff maximum opportunity to learn. Where before, staff would have been asked to attend traditional all day classroom training in groups of 6 to 10 people, we put together a huge programme of specialist short interactive, hands-on training courses via MS Teams. Close to a 1,000 training events were delivered in 1.5 or 2 hour long bitesize sessions comprising of a maximum of 3 delegates and a specialist LAS trainer. This approach gave us a wide-ranging programme of specialist courses for each different part of the business. On top of this, we offered an e-learning package to cover the basics of navigation and generic case recording, which staff were able to undertake in their own time as often as they required prior to and after go live.
We delivered the entire training programme in a training window which spanned just over 3 weeks, wrapped around Go Live, maximising the likelihood of staff remembering and consolidating their learning.
However, it was Early Life Support for the new systems which provided the greatest challenge.
Prior to the pandemic, staff would have been sat next to each other in an office, offering support and help to their colleagues who struggle with a new system. Nominated ‘Super Users’ and staff who just ‘GET IT’ would have provided invaluable support for more gentle system users and, normally, after a period of a few weeks or months, the system would bed in and become second nature.
So how could we replicate that type of support structure? We barely had any super users as the business was so stretched it was difficult even to recruit and train them. Those staff who had been helping in design and testing were suddenly unavailable, back to the ‘day job’ as the organisation understandably diverted all efforts to frontline activities. We found ourselves with hardly any super users and 90% of staff ‘home alone’ without colleagues on hand to answer their queries.
Our solution was to try and replicate support using different technologies, all of which are widely available to most public sector bodies without additional procurement:
We set up dedicated MS Teams sessions for key service areas – some all-day drop-in sessions where staff could join at any point, some as part of team meetings where we had a captive audience
We used the Office 365 Booking App to allow staff to book dedicated 15 or 30 minute slots with a project team member
We created a series of online videos using MS Stream within MS Teams and uploaded them to organisations intranet alongside traditional written guides and a FAQ
Finally we provide a dedicated Helpdesk which would manage queries logged on the Council’s IT Tech Support Portal or through a dedicated mailbox
We also provided targeted 1-2-1 support to users with assistive technology, senior managers and staff identified as needing dedicated support throughout the training programme and during Go Live
It’s fair to say it’s been a hugely successful outcome; these new ways of working have not only improved the quality of work and associated outcomes they have also created visibility and ‘levers’ to quickly redeploy capacity as required.