“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
While research has shown that organisational project failures have been drastically reduced by 20 percent across the board in recent years, the fact remains that project failures still have the power to prove very costly both in money and time. To avoid these unnecessary costs, organisations must remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure projects have the best chance of success.
Here at Halcyon, we are firm believers in doing as much as you possibly can to make a technology change project successful the first time around. Having the right approach, first time, is the best option for both an organisation and its employees. It saves times, is more cost efficient, means your organisation reaps the benefits of the technology sooner and gives your employees confidence that you know what you’re doing and have their best interests in mind.
A failed change
But first, let’s look at how a failed technology change project might play out.
We once worked with an organisation who wanted to upgrade their systems to a unified communications platform. They made the decision not to invest in a change management strategy and went ahead and launched the new technology to employees with little communication or training.
This organisation also hadn’t set up their IT infrastructure to ensure the smooth running of the new unified communications solution. So on top of already being left unprepared for the technology upgrade, employees were trying to do their job with technology that didn’t work properly, leading to a very poor experience.
The result: a double whammy failure.
To rub salt into the wound, the change was being rolled out in phases, and the reputation of the unified communications solution was so bad during the early stages that it lost employee support and was cancelled mid project.
The power of a good change management strategy
Let’s imagine this organisation had instead invested in a comprehensive change management strategy from the beginning. They would have had the chance to set up and test their IT infrastructure fully before staged introductions to key staff, such as executives and change champions, and then all employees. All employees at the organisation would have been communicated to before, during and after the unified communications deployment, and any concerns or questions would have been raised and addressed. Training on the new technology would have been delivered to all employees to ensure they were comfortable using the solution by the time it was implemented. And, the organisations would have been fully supported after the change through any teething issues.
As it turns out, this organisation did in the end invest in change management following the initial failure, which has resulted in the success of the project. Employees across the organisation now use the technology in their day-to-day roles, resulting in an increase in conferencing and collaboration of 50 percent and instant messaging by 35 percent.
However, one important thing to take note of is that this change management strategy proved much harder than had it been rolled out initially. Due to their less-than-ideal experience, employees were very wary of, and frustrated with, the re-introduction of the unified communications solution. Trying to turn around an employee base already disgruntled and disengaged with the technology is much harder than gaining the support of a neutral employee base.
This was a difficult and costly lesson for this organisation to learn. But it is just one of many failed change project failure stories out there that other organisations can learn from to avoid experiencing the same mistakes.