Best practice in Microsoft Lync 2013 pilot user selection


One of the most important tasks of pilot planning is thoughtful participant selection.

A Lync pilot is a realistic validation of the resources and procedures needed on a larger scale during each phase of your organization-wide rollout.  To achieve the most realistic results, the pilot program should mimic how Lync will be used when it is deployed organization-wide, while verifying Lync functionality across all major features and Microsoft Lync Server workloads.

The pilot phase is different from the rollout phase in three important ways. It involves:

  1. Carefully chosen participants, carefully targeted scenarios, and clearly focused goals.
  2. Additional user attention, training, and support activities that are more informal and hands-on than what you’ll provide during the rollout.
  3. Surveys to assess user experiences and satisfaction with the Lync client, training, communications, and devices.

Because of the relatively small scale of the pilot, you can afford to take a more hands-on approach to support, training, and feedback gathering. This will pay off as your rollout progresses. By allowing you to quickly change or modify resources and gather first-hand data about areas for improvement.

To enable the best evaluation with the fewest resources, an ideal Microsoft Lync pilot group includes representative users of all usage scenarios designed to validate the organization’s requirements and intended use of feature sets.  The pilot should extend to key people in IT, training and help desk.  This allows a thorough validation while fully optimizing project management resources.

Selecting users for the pilot

The primary criteria for selecting pilot users are to include:

  • A broad spectrum of skill levels.
  • Representatives from a variety of roles within your organization (exec admin, management, project manager, conferencing power users), different departments/business units, multiple regions (if applicable)
  • Enthusiastic individuals willing to complete testing and provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • Users for every targeted workload including conferencing.
  • Located near a Lync Champion who can provide desk-side support.

If your pilot is validating one or more remote user scenarios, include:

  • Alternate support communication if a local Lync Champion isn’t available.
  • Remote users who are enthusiasts with a higher technical skill level.