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Defining the Pilot Group

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Carefully select the pilot participants and the sites where the pilot will be conducted. First establish the selection criteria for participants, and then select candidates based on these criteria.

Selecting the Pilot Group and the Pilot Sites

The pilot group should include end users who are typical of those in your organization. This might include a wide range of users, some of whom are technically proficient and others who are less comfortable with technology. If you plan to conduct multiple pilots, the type of user you select might vary as the pilots progress. For an early pilot, however, good candidates have some of the following traits:

  • Are able to derive tangible benefit from Windows Server 2003.

  • Play a noncritical role in day-to-day operations.

    The group should be able to absorb some downtime or reduction in performance if problems occur.

  • Represent the target environment.

    Choose groups or sites that do not have unique requirements or operating environments, because the pilot should predict how your design and rollout will work in your organization at large. Most pilot participants should have the same technical expertise as the average user in your organization.

  • Perform a variety of activities using a variety of computer hardware.

  • Are enthusiastic about the Windows Server 2003 project.

  • Are comfortable with technology.

    This is not an essential attribute for pilot participants. However, if participants are comfortable with technology, they tend to be more patient with problems that occur during a pilot, and they are more likely to test the limits of the Windows Server 2003 operating system. This type of participant, however, might accept problems that should be reported. Encourage participants to report every problem they encounter.

You can identify candidates by conducting interviews, issuing and evaluating questionnaires, or requesting volunteers. Volunteers, in particular, can be very helpful, because their offer to participate indicates an interest in the Windows Server 2003 technology. You might also consider soliciting recommendations for users who might be good candidates for the pilot; for example, you might ask supervisors to identify power users of a particular technology that is going to be deployed.

The selection of a pilot site or sites often depends on the type and location of the pilot participants who have been selected and the number of support staff available to help them. Determine the number of pilot sites and the size of the pilot users group based on:

  • The objectives of the pilot.

  • The number of functions and features you are testing.

  • The size of your support staff.

  • Specific technology requirements that can be piloted only by using particular sites or user groups.

Choosing suitable pilot groups and sites helps to ensure a successful pilot project.

Using the IT Group as a Pilot Group

Many organizations use their IT group for the first pilot. Because this group is familiar with testing software and hardware changes, they are adaptable and can report issues quickly. After problems with the first pilot have been resolved, you can begin your full-scale pilot in the production environment.

Selecting a User Liaison

After you select your participants, choose one as your user liaison. Select someone who has good communication skills and a good relationship with both the pilot group and the project team.

Work with the user liaison as you plan the pilot. The liaison can provide you with information about the type of work the pilot group performs and can prepare the group for its role in the pilot.

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