Stewart McKelvey

Stewart McKelvey Raves NetDocuments Implementation “Unqualified Success” with Traveling Coaches

Stewart McKelvey, one of the 20 largest law firms in Canada, places great value on effective change management. As Brenda Tyedmers, manager of Change Support and Training, explains, “A law firm isn’t a ‘command and control’ environment.” When the firm decided to move their document management system to NetDocuments, they knew they needed a strong change management plan and resources.

“It was of the utmost importance to instill user confidence in the project and technology,” says Sherri Thom, IT Director. “We knew that Traveling Coaches was the right organization for this project.”

Extensive Knowledge and Experience

Both Thom and Tyedmers knew that a project of this scope would require assistance on the training and change management front. The firm had previously turned to Traveling Coaches for its programmatic approaches to security awareness with their OnGuard® program. The experience proved so successful that the firm knew Traveling Coaches would be invaluable for its transition to NetDocuments.

“We hired Traveling Coaches because of the excellent experience we had working with them during the security awareness program,” comments Thom. “Traveling Coaches has extensive knowledge of NetDocuments that we didn’t have internally. They have implemented NetDocuments at many other firms, so we knew they would be able to help us gain user buy-in and instill confidence that everyone would be properly prepared for the new system.”

Even though the firm has a full-time change management expert on staff, Thom and Tyedmers knew extra resources and reinforcement from Traveling Coaches would be necessary to develop effective user adoption strategies and deliver the required training and support in all offices simultaneously.

“We had ambitious goals, including getting close to 100% of designated users on NetDocuments and comfortable with its basic functionality by the first week to minimize business interruption,” explains Tyedmers. “With the scale of this project and the number of users in multiple offices, we were aware that we would need additional trainer capabilities and expertise.”

Increasing Awareness and Adoption

Together, Traveling Coaches and Stewart McKelvey created a change management strategy centered on building awareness, desire, knowledge and ability.

“We wanted people to be a part of the decision process, and we aimed to develop communications that would create anticipation in a positive manner and make the change exciting. The goal was for users to feel a certain level of comfort and familiarity with NetDocuments when it launched” comments Thom.  User engagement started during the procurement and proof-of-concept phase, with over 30 people involved in hands-on testing, and more than a 100 others participating in demos.


Traveling Coaches worked with the firm to identify plan elements and brainstorm ideas. The firm used the fruits of these meetings to create a comprehensive change management strategy and user adoption plan. The firm also benefited from branding advice, templates, and success stories from other clients, all provided by Traveling Coaches.

The plan included a NetDocuments sandbox. Sandbox drop-in sessions were promoted by Stewart McKelvey’s CEO and CFO. Tyedmers shares: “With the sandbox, we encouraged people to experience NetDocuments before it went live. More than 50 percent of the firm across all roles came to a sandbox session. After the implementation, we found that those who went to demos and the sandbox were up and running the quickest.”

The sandbox was complemented by a 6-month campaign of NetDocuments features and benefits, posted on the firm’s intranet and TVs.

“We were paired with an excellent lead trainer from Traveling Coaches who planned and delivered train-the-trainer sessions,” explains Tyedmers. “She helped everyone get up to speed on the environment and how it functioned, so the other coaches, as well as our in-house trainers and Desktop Support, were familiar enough to effectively support it.”

“The week before go-live, we focused on getting lawyers and staff knowledgeable,” says Thom. “We had Traveling Coaches trainers in each office so everyone could get a feel for NetDocuments and ask questions. We wanted to help anyone who was nervous to feel at ease and excited for the change to come.”

Traveling Coaches continued to excel during the week after go-live, providing solid and knowledgeable floor support to encourage user adoption.

“We got so much feedback about how helpful and friendly the coaches were. Everyone loved the “stop and go” cards. People would have cards on their desks that they could turn when they needed help. Traveling Coaches trainers had floor plans and would walk the floor and approach anyone that signaled for help. They kept people calm who felt worked up or anxious. They tracked who they visited and helped report any issues to our Helpdesk. Daily scrum conference calls kept the whole team on the same page. Floor support was a new concept for us that received rave reviews,” comments Thom.

“We also had drop-in sessions available with coaches. People could walk in, have snacks and ask questions,” shares Tyedmers. “It was very helpful.”

An “Unqualified Success”

All the change management planning, execution and training facilitated the firm’s smooth transition to NetDocuments.


“This project was an unqualified success,” raves Thom. “Our goal was to get people back to work as quickly as possible. The training and floor support provided our people with the knowledge and comfort level to successfully start working on Monday morning. Our third-party Helpdesk noted that it was one of the quietest DMS rollouts that they have been a part of.”

“Our Traveling Coaches trainers reported that people were doing things on day one that typically others wouldn’t be able to do until day three,” adds Tyedmers.

Traveling Coaches’ deep knowledge of NetDocuments proved invaluable. “The coaches drew on their previous experiences rolling out NetDocuments to other law firms.  They were able to provide a level of knowledge and insight that we wouldn’t have been able to offer ourselves.” says Thom.

“One of our goals was to keep stress levels manageable for the IT and project implementation teams. We would not have met that goal if we had relied solely on our in-house training team and not worked with Traveling Coaches,” comments Tyedmers.

As Thom summarizes, “Without Traveling Coaches, the project would not have been the success that it was.”