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How to work with super users

By Lloyd Baxter on April 23, 2024 - 5 Minute Read

Developing an AI solution from scratch is hard, but it’s not even the hardest part of AI adoption. The people part is where things can get really tricky, what many call “user adoption”. It's an area of change management where most businesses struggle. After all, changing established ways of working comes at a cost, a cost many won't be willing to bear unless they anticipate a clear benefit.

For end users to see a benefit in your AI solution, they need to be a meaningful stakeholder in its creation and rollout. By working with super users we can bridge the gap between technical teams, leaders and end-users, ensuring your solution  doesn’t just work technically, but truly solves the problems that users face on a daily basis.

What is a super user?

Super users (a.k.a. power users, beta testers) are a representative sample of the future user population of a new piece of software. Super users are recruited into an AI adoption project to help shape the solution and make sure the voices of end users are heard.

Why do I need super users?

Future users of your AI solution should be involved in the development process, from scoping to rollout. Without their input, you’re more likely to deliver a solution that doesn’t meet user needs and, as a result, is not widely adopted. Your selected super users can speak on behalf of the wider user population.

You may wonder, why not get input from all users? Often AI solutions are deployed to a large population of users. This can make getting input very time-consuming, costly and it can make the feedback difficult to interpret, so we recommend selecting a small number of super users that are representative of the user population.

Super users will be crucial to the success of your AI adoption project. They’ll be important at every stage of delivery, from scoping right down to monitoring and expanding your AI.

What can super users help with?

  • Task modeling: To create an effective AI solution, you need to know what your users need to achieve day-to-day, how they achieve it with the tools they have now and how they will achieve it with your AI solution
  • Solution design: Super users are critical in the solution stage of your business exploration sessions, being the voice of end users on how the solution should work, look and feel.
  • Internal advocacy: Super users can champion the software you want the wider team to adopt as a voice from within your user population.
  • Communication: They know the team, their pain points and ambitions. Having them help shape communications will make your messaging more successful.
  • Testing: One of the most important roles super users play is testing your AI solution during the user acceptance testing (UAT) phase to make sure the AI solution you rollout is ready.
  • Training: Super users can help deliver training, whether that’s delivering classroomstyle training or supporting end users one-to-one.
  • Sustaining adoption: Adoption among users often decreases after an initial burst of engagement as users return to their old habits. Super users can help sustain user adoption by continuing to use your AI solution, demonstrating its value to your wider user population

Super users will be crucial to the success of your AI adoption project. They’ll be important at every stage of delivery, from scoping right down to monitoring and expanding your AI.

Lloyd Baxter

AI Adoption Manager at Peak

How to select super users

There’s no such thing as an objectively good super user. A good group of super users is one that is representative of the user population and can sufficiently influence them to adopt your solution.

Factors to consider when selecting super users

There are lots of factors to consider when you’re deciding on how many super users you need and who those super users should be. Here’s a list of some of the factors you should be considering when selecting super users.


It might be tempting to recruit super users who are very enthusiastic about the prospect of your AI solution. They can play an important role, but your super users need to represent the full gamut of attitudes in your user population, from adversarial to advocacy and everything in-between.

You also want a blend of pessimism and optimism. Your pessimistic super users will bring a critical eye to everything, while an optimist will see the opportunities AI brings and champion them.


Being a super user takes up time, so you’ll need someone who has the capacity to support you. If your super user has work to do that is all-consuming, they’ll struggle to commit and that will hold your adoption project back.

Communication styles

Not everyone likes to be talked to in the same way. Some want the facts, blunt and fancy-free, while others want comprehensive information, with the full story behind the change. You should consider communication styles of the user population and if your super users represent it fairly.

Diversity and distribution of users

Larger user populations are often heterogeneous: users will have a variety of roles, they’ll work at various sites and potentially operate in more than one region. It’s important to understand the composition of your user population and make sure your group of super users represents this.

Domain knowledge

You’ll need to make sure there’s enough knowledge of the domain your AI covers (e.g., marketing knowledge for a recommender solution). Not everyone in your super user group has to be an expert but you need to make sure that, between all of your super users, there’s sufficient domain knowledge to design an effective AI solution.


Experience is a really important part of what your group of super users can bring. Experienced team members have seen projects fail and succeed, which can help inform how you approach adoption. But don’t be tempted to only recruit super users with lots of experience. Your super users need to represent all levels of experience, meaning you’ll ideally want at least one super user who’s relatively new to the organization, too.

Number of users

How many super users you need will depend on the size of your user population. If your user population is very small (five or fewer), it’s much more practical to treat the whole group like super users.


How influential your super user can be will depend to an extent on how respected and well-liked they are within their team and organization. While the popularity of super users should not take priority over other factors like domain knowledge, it’s something you should consider.


If your user population is spread across multiple countries, this introduces a complexity that you’ll need to manage, like differences in language, culture, time zone and the practical challenge of delivering training in multiple regions.


If your user base consists of people from various occupations, you must ensure that this is reflected in your super user group.


If your user population operates across multiple sites in your organization, you’ll have to consider how this could impact adoption. You may consider how your super users can influence your wider user population across various sites and help deliver training.

How to work with super users

Recruiting the right super users is only part of the equation. It’s important to know how to work with them so that both the project and your super users get the most out of their involvement. In this final section, I’ll share some practical guidance on how to collaborate effectively with super users.

Get to know your super users

Before jumping into action with your super users, it’s important to understand them. That means understanding their role in the organization, their attitudes towards change, the dynamics of their team and what role they can play in the AI adoption project.

This is where functional leads can be really helpful. They’ll likely have a more intimate understanding of team members. If possible, try and get some one-to-one time with your super users and build a relationship with them before getting started.

Make it their moment

Playing a role in a critical moment of transformation is a real opportunity. Working with executives and technical teams to shape how your organization uses AI is something most people would be proud to have on their resumé.

Make them your trusted advisor

Super users can help shape the whole project.  Because they’re situated in your end user team, they know better than anyone how the project will be received. Make sure you consult with them regularly on every aspect of your project.

Communicate regularly

Developing an AI solution can take a long time. That means the initial hype you might drive at the beginning of your AI project might have ebbed away by the time you’re ready to go live. Make sure super users are the ones in the know, with regular updates to maintain their excitement.

Be clear about how AI will affect them

Most workers believe AI will be transformative to their organization, but how game-changing it will be depends on the solution. Often AI solutions will deliver incremental benefits, like a 2% increase in margin. To any business leader, this is huge. But it might not feel like a big deal to your super user if it doesn’t directly impact their role.

Collect a mixture of structured and unstructured feedback

Structured feedback on your AI solution is critical because it’s easy to categorize and act on. There is a drawback though: it’s often collected via surveys. This can feel impersonal, when a change as significant as AI can feel very personal.

Try to use a mix of surveys and meetings with your super users to collect feedback. This will help you to maintain and strengthen your relationships with super users, while collecting actionable feedback.

Get the Ultimate Guide to AI Adoption

Want to learn more about how to succeed with AI adoption? We wrote the book on it. Learn about end user adoption and more in the Ultimate Guide to AI Adoption.

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