Getting started with Freehand
Learn the Freehand fundamentals so that you can help your team.
- Training workshop template
- In-depth Freehand courses
- Organization using spaces and projects
Getting familiar with user roles and seat types
Ensure your team will have the right level of access.
- Roles and seat types
Planning your launch
Create your operational and communication launch plan. To start planning your launch, you need to know the answer to a few questions:
- How many users are you planning to launch this to?
- What function/groups do these users fall under?
- What are the clear use cases/templates you've chosen?
- Who are your other admins and champions?
- What integrations are you planning on using?
- What are the goals of the program? How will success be defined?
- When do you want to launch by?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can start to build the foundation of your launch plan.
Training your users
There are a number of ways to train your users. The method you pick can be based on:
- The number of users to train
- The number of champions you have to help train users
- What your use cases are
- What templates you have chosen
- The number of different functions/groups you have
The most common types of training materials for Freehand are webinars, interactive workshops, self-serve materials, or delivering pre-recorded training videos.
Our matrix table below will give you an indication of what might work best for you based on your own criteria.
|Single Trainer||Multiple Trainers|
|< 50 users||> 50 users||< 50 users||> 50 users|
|Workshops per trainer||Webinar per trainer|
|Multiple Functions/Groups||Webinar per use case/function/group||
|Use-case specific webinars||
Use-case specific webinars
*Record the session so that it can be used for onboarding new users
Remember, training your users is more than just about teaching them about functionality. It is also about delivering the message of how teams should be using the tool and how they can find valuable in adopting it in their new workflows.
Example onboarding project plan and checklist
To help you create your operational plan, check out our example onboarding project plan and checklist here: Freehand Admin Deployment Blueprint. This will give you an idea of the activities and tasks you'll need to do ahead of your launch.
Who you will need to help you launch
As part of most Freehand launches, we've found that it requires a cross-functional team.
Here are some additional roles you'll need to call out to support you:
- IT operations - SSO and other Freehand integrations
- IT help desk - Support process and workflows
- Champions - Cross-functional champions to either help train, drive adoption, or provide support
- Project sponsor - To help tell and sell the story to the business
Resources you will need to create
You will need to craft a few resources to help with your rollout. Based on the example onboarding project plan here: Freehand Admin Deployment Blueprint, you'll need to create the following communications:
- Introduction email
- Training agenda template
- Training template
- Post-training email
- Post-training survey
- Document support process
Launch best practices and tips
Successfully launching and adoption of any SAAS tool takes planning and effort. While Freehand is an intuitive tool, it helps to structure your rollout and follow our path to success.
The path to a successful adoption can be distilled down to 3 main phases: awareness, enablement and championing.
Each of these phases cover aspects that will affect how your stakeholders see, use, and ultimately adopt your system.
Awareness spans more than just the process of making the tool known throughout your organization. Likely you've heard of many tools in your place of work, but you may have a hard time describing what they do, if you should be using them, or where/how you get access to them.
This step is all about giving your stakeholders all the data points to allow them to start formulating ahead of time. Your primary focus is to help them answer three questions:
- How they could start to use Freehand in their own workflows
- What benefits they’d get from spending time investing
- What changes they need to start making in order to adopt Freehand
When creating a plan to increase awareness, ask yourself 3 questions:
When do I make people aware of my design system?
Communication should always be early and often. Remember, the key is to give your users enough time to evaluate the tool themselves and then formulate questions, concerns, and feedback.
Ideally, you want to have some sort of communication with your users from the beginning. That builds relationships and a connection between them and your tool even before they’ve got their hands on it.
How should I increase awareness?
Email or instant messages, such as through Slack or blog posts on your local intranet, are good follow-up methods of communication. The problem with these types of communication is you can never be sure if anyone has seen or read them.
When possible, to be more effective, make your first communication in-person. Running a workshop is a successful way to do this. Leveraging your champions will make it easier to cover a larger user base. These can be run as combined sessions between all users, but separating them makes it possible to focus on particular workflows and use cases per function or group.
What do I tell them?
Here’s a basic agenda you can build from:
- Explain the problem statement. Why are you doing this? Share research and statistics. You may already have this. But anything to back up why you’re doing this is helpful in telling your story.
- Share the solution. How will you resolve this problem? Share news about Freehand and any specific templates. Also, mention any changes to upcoming workflows.
- Highlight what will change for each user. Include a high-level overview of the platform. This should not be a full demo, but it’s important to show Freehand at this point.
- Get users excited. You can do this by preemptively answering questions such as when this is coming and how this will be rolled out.
- Next steps. Highlight what will happen over the coming weeks or months. Ensure you leave them with an open channel for communication and feedback.
A 1-hour session should cover this. Remember to leave time at the end for questions and feedback. You don’t have to answer them in the session, but log them and respond as part of your regular communications.
The next step is ensuring that your target users know how to use the tool effectively for their roles and where to go if/when they need answers to some basic questions.
Enablement includes more than getting teams on the tool; it’s also about giving teams all the information and tools they need to get their jobs done. Think of enablement as 3 smaller enablement pieces: tooling, processes, and support.
Your users need to understand how Freehand works, specifically how to complete their tasks using it. Workshops are often the best way to train users as it allows for hands-on experience and questions or feedback to be discussed as a group during a live session. You can then triage concerns or issues straight away or follow up at a later time.
During your training, focus on the features and functionality that they will use and avoid covering everything if it's not necessary to do so. Here are some tips:
Set up your training to be more than a run through of features. Plan to show users the actual use cases so they get a feel of how they should be using the tool.
Train teams on your configured platform. Show them the tool they’ll eventually be using. That way, when they get their hands on it, they’ll be familiar with it.
Train teams as if they were going to be trainers themselves. This will be a key to help unlock the final step in your adoption path.
Being able to use the tool is integral to success, and enabling your users to understand and be comfortable with any new process changes is just as important. If you're moving from another tool to Freehand, or inserting Freehand into an existing process such as note taking for candidate interviews, make sure it's clearly communicated.
It’s important that this enablement piece starts early. Users should know well in advance what proposed changes are coming as opposed to being surprised by them.
You want you users to be able to give you feedback so that they are more inclined to use Freehand. It's important for them to have a communication channel open with you as an admin and that the support process is clearly defined.
Depending on how large your rollout is going to be, it is encouraged to practice each of these enablement steps before you officially launch. For example, you and your champions should have used the tool and done dry runs of process changes to iron out any issues prior to the official release.
It will take the help of other to drive the adoption Freehand. Freehand will impact people who think and work differently, especially those who have different drivers and ambitions. So you need to lean on others to help tell the story in a way that empathizes with these different types of users.
During your awareness and enablement phases, you’ll no doubt identify some who seem super enthusiastic about Freehand and want to see its success. These are the ones who can help you drive that success. Empower them to lead best practice sessions, create material, and build relationships on the ground.
Champions may choose to run office hours, additional training, or continue to promote success stories or Freehand templates to help cultivate a community. As that community grows and people understand and appreciate how Freehand has improved existing workflows, your teams will have a desire to use it more and more.
A successful launch and adoption will take some time and effort, but the information in this article can act as a guide to create a solid foundation to simplify the process.