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8 Best Practices for A Successful LMS Implementation Brief
Best Practices for
A Successful LMS
The successful implementation of any enterprise system requires solid
business support and deliberate planning. This is especially true for systems
that impact regulatory compliance, such as a Learning Management
Based on our experience across highly regulated industries, we recommend
these 8 best practices for success:
Ensure Strategic Alignment
An LMS implementation is most successful when it is aligned with the organization’s
strategy. Your LMS should contribute to the long-term success of the organization,
not just address short-term needs.
To ensure strategic alignment, you should be able to answer:
• Why are we buying an LMS now?
• How will the chosen LMS deliver ROI?
• What are the potential human or financial consequences of not acquiring an LMS?
If you can’t answer these questions, then you need to revisit your
Get an Executive Sponsor
If you don’t have an executive sponsor, get one! Ideally you should have identified your executive
sponsor in your business case. However, it’s never too late for the support of a senior voice. An
executive sponsor can gather teams from different departments (such as L&D, IT and Legal), get
budget approval and empower you to implement change.
The sponsor doesn’t have to be an HR or Learning Executive. It is often best to have a sponsor from
Finance or Legal. These departments are already focused on compliance, making them good partners
for an LMS implementation initiative.
Create a Team
Ensure that resources are available. An enterprise LMS has multiple functionalities and isn’t designed
to ‘plug and play’. It requires an ongoing investment from your people. We suggest you:
• Hire or identify your key administrator, as the project lead. They may need to be full or part-time.
• Consider an LMS Manager to lead from a strategic perspective.
• Establish IT’s level of involvement. On premise deployments requires active IT input. SaaS
deployments may include input from IT on requirements for password security, data access, etc.
• Select the right structure for your organization – such as a single system admin or a central system
admin team with a network of regional or departmental administrators.
• For a network of global administrators, create a forum or LMS council to collaborate on processes,
best practices and continuous improvement.
Define Business Requirements
Unclear objectives, vague requirements and poorly defined success metrics are often
contributing factors in failed LMS implementations. You must:
• Define: what do you want to achieve with the LMS?
• Don’t take existing processes (especially paper-based) and move them to the LMS.
• Use out-of-the-box features of the LMS as much as possible
• Change your processes first and wait to change the system until 3+ months of use
• Prioritize and document requirements: determine which are a “MUST” and which
are “nice to have”
Continually track these requirements throughout the LMS implementation.
Make an Implementation Plan
Ensure that you have a robust plan that contains all the key implementation steps:
1. Kick Off 5. Use Case Testing & Feedback
2. Requirements Review & Gathering 6. Configuration Finalization
3. Attend Foundation Training 7. Go Live Preparation
4. Configuration of the LMS 8. LMS Deployment
• Be realistic about your schedule - you need to allow enough time.
• An LMS implementation project can take between 3 – 6 months, depending on the goals,
available resources and the overall organization.
• A large enterprise-level LMS can take a year or more to implement, depending on requirements.
Create a Training Plan
Do not underestimate the value of time spent on formal training and informal
practice. Post-training, system administrators should be able to engage in detailed
conversations with the vendor and even challenge them.
Companies with a training plan report a greater ROI. Enable success by:
• Identifying designated backup administrators to receive the same training as the
• Creating an end user training plan. Resources could include “How To” modules.
• Establishing an admin support network, such as a shared drive with user guides or
an administrator’s wiki.
• Proactively train internal IT Support to reset passwords and create accounts.
Manage for Change
Many successful implementations fail when organizations do not prepare people for change. A new
LMS may be exciting for the project team, but some staff may be intimidated. We recommend you:
• Utilize internal communications to prepare teams for upcoming changes.
• Focus on branding and PR – engage staff in a “Name the LMS” competition or other idea to
• Communicate launch materials early to make your go-live as smooth as possible.
• Reach out to any worker’s council or unions early in the process for their support.
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Continually Leverage the LMS
Maintain a buzz around the LMS after implementation is complete. Most people will log in once.
You need them to return and learn.
Strategies can include:
• Sharing statistics on the departments with the most logins or highest scores for a sense of
• Adding “fun” courses to the LMS to entice users, as many content providers offer courses on
photography or languages, etc.
• Using communication features of the LMS, (homepage updates, news articles), to give users a new
experience when they log in.
• Adding an LMS link, login box or news feed to other company sites, like the intranet, or HR system.
• Partnering with your LMS vendor to ensure that you are leveraging available or upcoming features.
• Joining a community of other users to share knowledge and best practices.
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