Across more than two decades, these three are at the top of why SUNs decompose.
1. Executive Sponsor (ES). This role is critical to gaining and keeping organizational support. I’ve seen plenty of companies that go the “grassroots” route and try to gain ES support when they have proven their value. This is risky business. What happens if you cannot get ES support? What happens to your group of Super Users if you don’t get ES support? You can start without ES support, but you cannot survive and thrive without ES support.
2. Super User Leader. This has been a very misunderstood role, and for good reason. There has not been an industry-accepted and understood definition of this role. Because of this, each company makes up its own version, hoping they get it right. Here are a few scenarios, each of which comes with its own risks: 1) Assign the role to someone who already has a full-time role, 2) Assign the role to people who have a primary role that conflicts with the Super User Leader role, for example, a project manager, 3) Assign the role as a growth opportunity to someone who has never managed a team or budget.
3. SUN Structure. Most SUNs have been built by default and not by design. Historically the Super Users come out of a project with everyone just believing they will continue being super! History has proved that this is not a success strategy, this is a hail mary. This has not worked. The other approach has been to start by identifying a list of Super Users because it’s what we can do, and it provides immediate satisfaction, “We’ve done it, we have our list of Super Users. Now what are we going to do?” The only real structure to this is not really structure at all, it’s just a meeting schedule with the list of Super Users and a set of action items. A SUN needs a designed structure that guides and informs the work they do in the short and long term.