Super Users in Action: Top-down Channel

by Laila Stancioff, Published in BPTrends on December 2018

In the last article, we talked about how the Super Users are a filter and channel for ideas and issues identified within his peers, to correctly direct them up on the Organization. However, not only the Super Users filter what goes from the organization to the Business Process Office, but also the other way around.

Improvements and change requests can come from different levels of the Organization, be it from strategic projects, or as a result of quality analysis of complaints. All these changes ultimately reach the team performing the related task, and the way it does affects people’s willingness to adhere to the change.

The Super User is the one that participates in the improvement projects and helps to test the system. He/She is the one informed about the changes, the one who evaluates how this impacts the team, and decides, together with the manager, how to give this information to the team. With that, when the team is faced with a change, it should come in the most suitable format and “already tested” as much as possible. This facilitates in a great measure people’s acceptance of the change. [1]

For that to happen, there needs to be trust between the Manager, the Super User, and the team, for trust is a fundamental dimension of change management. When a change is proposed by someone, the reaction of the people that are invited to accept and be part of it depends a great deal on the trust they have in the person that is proposing it.

To create and share knowledge, trust and openness are fundamental, and even though the Process Owners make the effort to be open, communicative, and emphatic, they are frequently not well received in other departments. This happens because they are someone external that enters the department’s life to interfere in it. Many people instinctively stand on the defensive. There are different reactions, such as “Why do they want again to interfere in our work?”, or “Surely this is less effective than what we were doing.”. The Process Office may be seen as a structure on a parallel world that appears sometimes with “very good ideas”, but which actually disturbs people’s work. [1]

It is more likely that people will be open with colleagues with whom they work day-to-day than with someone that comes in on a project. People accept much better if the one who proposes corrections and changes is someone that is living the same process – more likely they will trust that this person knows what he/she is talking about, and know “he/she would now propose extra work since he/she will also have to do it”. If the changes are proposed by an external party it generates more resistance, especially if people feel that their work is being controlled and the decided measures will be imposed.

To finalize, I would like to remind some of the requirements [2] that have to be taken into account when choosing a Super User in the first place, to make sure the person put in this role has all the necessary qualities to make this happen. The Super User should be open to share knowledge and have strong interpersonal skills, including well-honed communication skills. Being a top-down channel is actually another dimension of the coaching role the Super User has: he coaches each person on the team to develop a process mindset, adapting the message to each individual.


[1] Rizoto-Vidala-Pesoa, L. M. The Super User role as a tool to progress in maturity in Business Process Management – a study case of Cabot Latvia. Master thesis, University of Latvia, 2017.

[2] Rizoto-Vidala-Pesoa, L. M. The Super User Role: An Extended Concept, 2018, BPTrends,

Laila Stancioff, Process-U Executive Director

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