As the training phase of this project was completed, David Potter took a moment to share the project story so far and publish some of the feedback and lessons learned by the key users.
As with all BEST installations, the first site visit was scheduled once the BEST v12 data had been converted to a “First Cut” level.
The Soft Options Project Planning Team then attended the Rehabilitation Centre for the first Implementation & Planning meeting in November, and started to document the services’ existing processes with a view to reviewing them, and then transferring them across to v14.
Upgrading to BEST v14 is an excellent opportunity to review all your processes, as this can not only help you take advantage of the new, updated functionality of v14, but also to improve your services’ performance.
At this early stage, BEST Version 14 was very new to everyone. People have been using their older BEST version for quite some time and have become comfortable with it.
This session is the first time that some of the staff at Birmingham will get a real chance to look at their processes in depth and see how they can now be carried out in v14.
We received a lot of positive feedback at this point, as users start seeing how much easier literally everything is in v14.
A comment on requesting changes to BEST v14 from Kerry McLean:
… no matter what we request nothing is impossible even if we have an alternative that is still good
“Always aim high then you will never be disappointed because Soft Options always do their Best to achieve the unachievable”
And below is another comment from Kerry, and this is one we hear quite often:
“You don’t realise how good V14 is until you have to go back and use V12”
On returning to the office, the customisation of the system starts in earnest, as the changes requested during the Process Planning Meeting are put into place.
As part of the v14 project we are upgrading the link between the Trust PAS System RiO and BEST, from a once a day update to on demand. This means that the delay in information transfer will be reduced from 24 hours to a maximum of 10 minutes. Mike (Soft Options) and Ashley (Birmingham) spent a lot of time on this, and the results are outstanding.
“This is a great deal of work that you have both achieved and will make such a difference to the way Birmingham Wheelchair Service currently works”.
“The development changes we have requested and been advised on will make our processes so much smoother and quicker. Thank you, Mike, for all your advice and support regarding the development and the work you have completed with Ashley regarding Rio”.
Outputs (Letters & Reports)
Another vital aspect of the process was Kerry spending time looking through the v12 set of letters and reports. She then sent these to us here at Soft Options where the required editing and updating took place. Liz Ross here at Soft Options made all the changes and then sent them back to Kerry for approval.
The Service now has a full set of letters and reports that are specifically edited for their site.
Soft Options technicians (notably Simon Henry from Soft Options) worked very closely with Birmingham technicians to install BEST v14 on site, and also at this point, we took a later cut of their BEST v12 data to v14, so the staff here had some familiar and up-to-date data to look at when they were testing the system and in preparation for the training.
Also at this point, the first set of changes that were discussed during the Project Planning meeting have been added. This allowed the staff here to test their converted processes and also check the converted data.
A quote from Kerry McLean at this point:
“People have already commented on how easy it is to navigate around, and the changes that we have worked on with you will be of great benefit to them and reduce the amount of time it would take to raise work orders and track assets”.
And some early quotes from clinicians now they have access to v14:
“It’s more streamlined and user friendly”.
“I can’t wait to start using Best V14”.
“It looks a lot easier than V12 to navigate around”.
During the above phases, Kerry McLean created a training plan for her staff, which was then passed on to our Training Team here at Soft Options. The training plan offered everyone a very clear picture of who was being trained on which day, and the topics that were to be covered. An absolutely invaluable document and one that we would expect from every site.
The training went very well indeed, with no users showing any reluctance to use the new version. Indeed, everybody we trained was attentive and enthusiastic. A real credit to the service.
The initial training was for the Key Users (or Super Users as they are often called). At least one of these users then attended every single training course that was delivered to the service staff, with Kerry, Nina, Shirley, Saj and Howard being the main attendees.
At the final count, we have actually trained just under 50 people on both the system basics and also their own specific tasks.
All the time we are building relationships between Soft Options staff and Birmingham staff, and we have excellent relations with the staff here.
A quote from Kerry McLean:
“We must remember that we wouldn’t have got this far if it wasn’t for us having a better understanding of Best and the working relationships that we have had with you. Nothing has been too much trouble and so far, what we have asked for in development Soft Options have achieved”.
Also, the discussed changes to the software are on-going and being tested by Kerry and Nina, and included in the training sessions.
Some pictures from the training sessions
A quote from Kerry Mclean:
“I would also like to say that the first session of training days went extremely well and we learnt a lot more of what BEST could do, very much to our advantage and will most definitely improve the way we work and report. Thank you, David, for your advice and helping us look at different ways in which we work to improve our process flow and training us on elements of Best that we didn’t know were available”.
Dummy Go Live
Next up is the Dummy Go Live Day. This is an invaluable day that we recommend every service has, and that Birmingham very wisely decided to take.
The day will involve myself (David Potter) from the Training Team, and Mike Birdsall from the Development & Consultancy teams being on site, and, as the title says, spend the day as if it were the actual Go-live day at the service.
This important day will let us iron out any remaining issues and check that when we run the actual Go-Live day, all the problems have already been dealt with, and things will run smoothly.
Finally, the Go-Live day arrives and will find myself (David Potter) and Mike Birdsall back on site with Kerry, Nina and the rest of the staff. The day should be very smooth and drama-free as any issues will have been dealt with on the Dummy Go-Live day.
Mike and myself (and Kerry and Nina) will be floor walking……going round to see all staff, to check everything is running as expected, and to give refreshers on any processes that staff may want to run through again.
Once all the items on the Sign Off sheet have been ticked off, we are officially LIVE on BEST v14.
Hand Holding Day
The last part of this process is a hand-holding day on the day after Go-Live. Soft Options staff will again be on site for the day to make sure there are no last-minute issues and everyone is happy with their processes.
We will all have a feeling of a job well done at this point. All the hard work from everybody has culminated in a successful Go-Live and everybody is ready to start a new chapter of working with BEST v14, and their reviewed and updated processes.
We have built up an excellent relationship with Kerry, Nina, Saj, Howard and all the rest of the team that have worked so hard to make this project a success.
They kept their good humour at all times. We worked very hard and put in some long days, which are made so much easier when people are enjoying it.
Finally, Kerry McLean has given us a list that contains hints, tips and generally sound advice that helped make their v14 upgrade program run so smoothly, and will hopefully offer the same to anyone reading this and looking to upgrade their own service.
What’s made the implementations of Best V14 run smoothly?
1. Having 6 super users that work across the services that are having Best V14 implemented.
• Kerry Mclean – Operational Support Manger Equipment & Technology Clinic Group.
• Nina Meacham – Team Lead Birmingham Wheelchair Service
• Howard Jones – Mechanical Workshop Manager
• Shirley Williams – Team Lead e Procurement
• Cindy Edwards – Team Lead Regional Posture & Mobility Service
• Sajid Khaliq – Administrator
2. Regular meetings with all super users to agree actions from each meeting.
3. Ensure all super users have access to the Best v14 test system, which will allow them to check the data and processes.
4. Have at least 3 super users that have access to the ticket system
5. Regularly monitor and update SOS tickets for development with as much detail as possible, and attach screen shot documents to help.
6. Prioritise the tickets that you have on hold, using a number that means something to you. This will help you monitor them and stop you from opening tickets that you can’t move forward with at this stage.
For example, we did:
• 99 EDT
• 55 Rio
• 0 Parked
• 3320 Dummy go live
• 141623 Update release
7. Block time in your calendar each week to work on Best V14. This needs to be at least twice a week.
8. After the first meeting you have with Soft Options, ensure that all the dates are in your calendar.
• Training dates
• Cut-off date for development
• Dummy go live
• Go live
9. Do yourself a “think board” that would be used as somewhere to record items and remind you about them. For example, jobs to do, training, Rio and wish tickets.
10. Be prepared to put the work in. Test Best and learn it inside and out. If you have already used Best prior to Best V14 this will make it a lot easier.
And some final words from Kerry:
Last of all, you MUST have a good working relationship with Soft Options and communicate at all times, because no matter how small or big you think the issue is, Soft Options will always work with you.
ANNUAL CONSULTANCY DAY
We will see Kerry and the team again on their ACD (Annual Consultancy Day), which is now included with every BEST v14 Update.
The ACD can be used for development, extra training, or even if you wish to add some new BEST v14 functionality to your existing BEST v14.