Let me be clear. I fully understand that you want to use the moment you go live to organise such a party. Inviting all users and the project team that has worked so hard to meet the deadline. A moment like that should not be left unnoticed. The company restaurant is usually picked to raise a glass and for the managing director to thank everybody on the project team for their hard work. Usually, by the time the project manager takes the stand to share some anecdotes, most of the employees are just looking forward to get to the drinks and snacks. I even remember that goodies were handed out - who does not still have a mousemat or coffee cup with a project slogan or logo on it?
Users determine the success
Nevertheless, I believe that there is a milestone that is even more important to celebrate than the moment when the old application is switched off and the new one is going to be the standard from that moment on. Having been part of many implementation teams myself, I do not underestimate the effort it took to get up to that point, but it does not say anything about the project results.
Because ultimately, that result is being determined by the users. Have they sufficiently been informed about what is expected of them? Do they understand why the switch (or improvements) have been made? Are they familiar with the new process flow and their tasks and responsibilities in them? Can they do their job with the new application? And will they?
The People side of Transformations
I clearly recall delivering one of my first ERP training sessions when I was supporting my first go live back in 1997. Having spent a lot of time with the consultants figuring out the processes, creating training materials with real-life examples and preparing a training client to allow for exercises. Just a few minutes in, the group was beginning to show resistance and started asking questions. As what I was showing them clearly was not the way they used to work. Somebody had forgotten to tell them that the transformation was more than just a new look-and-feel. In short: the application training I was supposed to deliver, came to early for them.
This can easily be avoided by paying attention to the people side of transformations through all kinds of Solution Adoption activities. As @ThomasJenewein described in his blog 'Why digitial adoption is so important', it is an integral part of the SAP Activate methodology. In my opinion, a crucial part for project success.
When the KPI for user adoption has been met, let's throw another party. As a thank you for the employees in recognition for their contribution to the projects success? let's reward them for positively influencing the speed of adoption by embracing the new way of work, their ultimate utilisation of the new solution and their proficiency? Wouldn't that be worth another celebration?