What is the ultimate measure of an IT project's success? Use and adoption of the new technology by the end users, of course!
In most IT projects, the impact to the end user is forgotten, or due to other technical hurdles, it finds its way to the backburner. Ensuring that end users are ready for a new technology is very important and should not be left to the last minute.
- Project managers are focused on managing the project team, monitoring dependencies and risks, and ensuring that tasks are completed on time. Most organizations assume this role covers end user communication and training – it does not.
- Often, communication and training teams are not included in the technical aspects of an IT project. Therefore, they don’t understand the new technology, and are not prepared to provide the end user with the right information about the upcoming IT changes. As a result, end users are uninformed, unprepared, and resistant to the changes.
- If there isn’t active dialog between the end users and the project team, no one is managing the end user’s resistance to change, and setting expectations can help them navigate the changes.
So, how do you ensure end users are ready for change? Two words: Readiness Management.
Readiness Management is the application of standard processes and tools for leading the people side of change to achieve project success. Through the application of Readiness Management, you can ensure that a project solution is effectively embraced, adopted, and used.
There are several dimensions of readiness that can be managed to drive end user success:
- Strategic Readiness: Stakeholder engagement, communicating the vision and establishing governance.
- Organizational Readiness: Company-wide awareness of upcoming IT changes - explaining why the changes are being made.
- Operational Readiness: IT Administrators and Service Desks are ready to support the new technology, and know how to troubleshoot problems, or route tickets.
- Individual Readiness: End users are prepared for the change, have the tip sheets they need, and know when they will be impacted.
In order to drive end user success during your IT projects, consider adding a Readiness Manager to the project team. A Readiness Manager is dedicated to helping end users get ready for upcoming changes.
Readiness Managers work with the business to schedule the timing of the end user impact and ensure all of the dimensions of readiness are considered. Most often, this involves ongoing communications across various organization-wide mediums. It also involves creating a place where end users can go to get answers to their questions / concerns, and obtain all of the training material they need.
Simply put, Readiness Managers are the liaison between the technical project team and the end users impacted by the upcoming changes. Not only can their two-way dialog with the end users help drive the acceptance of the changes, but ensure IT project success.
At Blue Chip, Readiness Managers work through a program called Embrace. As its name implies, the program is designed to help end users embrace change. It ensures technical solutions are effectively adopted and used. Check it out.