Project management is often framed by three levers; scope, cost, and schedule. Where success can be measured by getting what you wanted, when you wanted it, for less than you expected. It is by nature a product focused discipline. But what happens after you get exactly what you asked for?
Somewhere hidden in the adage, “if a tree falls in the forest…”, is the tale of an application that went unused and unloved by its users. An application that never realized any benefits because the people we expected to use it were not prepared, willing or able, to take advantage of it.
Change Management strives to connect project execution with the people it impacts. By managing the people side of change, it is a discipline that focuses on realizing the benefits of a project by preparing individuals to be able to adopt and use your project outputs. This critical element often gets missed and relegates Change Management to the back row of project execution, merely a soft skill with little tangible benefit. But in truth, Change Management ensures projects are able to deliver on their benefit promise by handling the transition from project execution to project operation.
When justifying the cost of implementing a Change Management framework, consider the following benefit argument. The return on investment for change management is built around four tenants, an increase in the rate of adoption, a higher overall utilization rate, a reduction in project rework, and an increase in user proficiency. These combined factors are the modes by which your project benefits are realized sooner, and at higher levels.
Everett Rogers, who is best known his Diffusion of Innovation theory notes a tipping point in adoption (critical mass) where the number of users that have adopted a new system is large enough to where continued adoption, and growth, is self sustaining. To reach this point in your project roll-out as quickly as possible you need to create an environment that begins the adaptation period for your users during the project execution phase so that upon delivery you have an increased pool of “early adopters”. These users understand the change, the reason why the change is needed, and what the direct benefit is for them.
There is direct correlation between the rate of return and the percentage of your population that uses the application. Your goal should be to drive this utilization rate as high as possible, but there will be resistors within your user group that will fight against the change. You will be able to trace back much of this resistance to a feeling that the “change is happening to us” instead of “we are part of the change”. Inclusion and consultation in the delivery process is essential to removing resistance to change and creating a sense of ownership among those who will be most impacted.
Rework, change requests, enhancements, and tickets are expensive and eat away at your overall benefits. By including users in the design process to ensure that your application is changing the current state in the right ways will significantly reduce the amount of rework needed post roll-out.
Users who know an application are more likely to use it effectively and make less mistakes. Training your user base is essential to project success. Strive to go beyond the user manual; hold question and answer sessions, have proficient users act as mentors, create incentives to sustain and prove learning. Project roll-out should continue past deployment and ensure that users can, and are able to, successfully interact with your new application.
Here at Princeton Blue we aim to deliver on a holistic approach to your BPM needs, we want to be your partner in developing successful solutions that are not only expertly deployed but also whole-heartedly adopted. Let us show you what we can do with a live or remote demo, please visit our website at www.princetonblue.com and request us to contact you or reach out to us directly at (908) 369-0961