There are countless stories of technology implementations gone wrong. As a firm that helps our clients with difficult implementations, we’ve witnessed and helped companies address multiple implementation failure points. Behavioral change management (BCM) is a key lever that is essential to realizing value during implementations. However, it is often treated without the same rigor that is applied to technical design, requirements gathering, and project management of an implementation. Often BCM is incorrectly assumed to be nothing more than communications regarding the implementation. This is a brutal mistake! While most implementations are business decisions, they rely on people changing the way they behave in order to do their daily work. If that behavior change doesn’t occur, the new technology is underutilized, or worse, used in ways that result in a future state that is less beneficial than the state from which the organization started. Changing behavior isn’t as simple as writing a few emails or creating beautiful posters for breakrooms and elevator lobbies.
Implementations that lack rigor in planning and executing behavioral change management activities often suffer tremendous value loss. In any project, there is a universal certainty that productivity will decrease initially. A primary goal of BCM is to reduce the severity of the decline in productivity and shorten the time it takes for people to resume and surpass the level of productivity they had before the change started. In order to be effective, a solid change management plan must be developed and aligned with the project management plan to address the activities needed to move people through the stages of change and prepare them to change the way they operate on a daily basis. In a technology implementation, this means using the new technology in the way that maximizes value to the deploying organization. The key is to create a strategy that goes beyond the financials of the business case – one that accounts for the adoption of the new technology and processes to ensure realization of desired outcomes.
Change Management is a planned and managed process that identifies and involves affected stakeholders at the inception of the technology implementation project. Every technology implementation should have a documented change management plan that includes a firm understanding of the impact of the change to the identified stakeholder groups, actions for creating awareness regarding the change, identification of key behaviors that will drive success, strategies for training stakeholders, and methods to evaluate and reinforce the behaviors necessary to deliver the expected value resulting from the implementation.
The benefits of the Change Management include, but are not limited to:
- Increased return on investment (ROI)
- Smooth transition from the old to the new
- Increased employee acceptance of the change
- Improved morale, productivity, and quality of work
- Retention of key performers
- Minimized resistance
- Reduced employee stress and anxiety
An organization can choose the perfect technology to enable a desired outcome, implement the technology on-time, make it available without major bugs and still fail to deliver value to the organization. Our experience shows us that enterprise project management tools often fail to live up to their expectations. This isn’t because the tool isn’t up to the job. Quite the opposite, actually. Today’s tools are often extremely capable and loaded with advanced functionality ranging from automated scheduling, to resource leveling, to advanced reporting driven from a central data source. The challenge is that most organizations haven’t practiced a rigorous change management process that prepares stakeholders to effectively use the project management tool in a manner that aligns with the value drivers that were identified as the reason for the implementation. The result? Projects are managed in Excel, project managers are frustrated, and a lot of money was invested to implement a tool that is only used to track time spent working on projects, which is a fraction of the tools full capability set.
As a firm that specializes as a technology advisor to businesses, we understand what it takes to successfully enable your people to adopt and utilize new technologies with proficiency. Want to learn more or continue the conversation? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.