How can I help the organization successfully implement a new solution?
We know that most people are somewhat resistant to change. How can I help the organization successfully implement a new solution?
In most projects that impact an organization's technology, there's usually someone on the team who looks out for the technical side of the system changes. But implementing a successful solution isn't only about technology—it's also about people. And because people generally resist change (with notable exceptions), you must begin preparing for the transition well ahead of time, especially if the gap between the "before" and "after" states is wide. The following "people factors" checklist will help you shape a successful implementation.
Start with the stakeholders. During your stakeholder analysis, take time to understand your business stakeholders—not just learning their names and titles, but finding how they feel and what they're thinking. What are their fears with regard to the solution? Find out how they view the solution in terms of WIIFM. ("What's in it for me?") Who are they listening to?
Determine the appetite for change. Identify the biggest areas of resistance. Ideally, there will only be small pockets of resistance. If the resistance to the new solution is widespread, or extends high up the organizational ladder, the effort is likely to fail. Identify your early adopters. These are the folks who are least resistant to change, and who can help the others adjust to the change process. Get them excited about the changes as soon as you can.
Don't forget the broader organizational culture. Pay attention to the prevailing leadership styles and corporate culture of rewards and punishments. For example, if the organization is biased toward customer service over efficiency and speed, a solution that requires people to work faster at the expense of the quality of customer service won't succeed without deliberate change management efforts.
Make change management a requirement. In your efforts to help the organization prepare for the approaching changes, establish criteria for gauging how much acceptance has been achieved. Be sure to include requirements around transition, change management, organizational readiness, and communication and training, in addition to the standard system requirements.
Measure your progress. Incorporate organizational readiness into the signoff activities at the end of each project phase. For example, use focus groups, feedback surveys, etc. The results will help you demonstrate that the implementation will succeed, and identify corrective actions if progress isn't where it should be.