Vision, what vision?
This is the second article in the series on ensuring your technology projects deliver the change and business value they are supposed to.
Read the first article here “Using learning to make technology projects stick”
Technology projects are an answer to a problem. Looking through business cases for tech implementations, we often see well-documented descriptions of the challenges being faced, and high-level descriptions of how the tech solution will change business processes, provide better customer experiences, or provide competitive advantage. We sometimes see a compelling explanation of why the technology might achieve these outcomes. We rarely see any meaningful description of what the actual change in behaviour is, that will come from the investment. And it’s that change in behaviour that is the key to success.
As programmes progress, energy is focused on mapping business processes, wrangling functionality, and mitigating risk. How often do your programme leads connect all this activity to the end game? How often do projects adapt to a new understanding of the business reality of the people who will use the technology?
In our experience, rarely. We’re often brought into projects as minds start to turn to roll out. Dates are looming and people will need training. Conversations are functional around mapping of feature sets to roles. ‘Innovation’ often means finding ways to deliver training on last-minute budgets.
The difficulty is that the original vision for the people of the organisation was lost early on. It’s hard to bring it back at that point. What would it look like if the vision for the end state was kept front and centre throughout the process? If the project team had a description on the wall of business success in practical terms and checked in on it every week?
- Change Leads would have a clear basis for making effective decisions because they would know where they needed to end up
- Software experiences would be designed around the needs of the people who will use it
- There would be a clear meaningful framework for measuring business impact
- The importance of adoption and change would be recognized throughout the project, not at the end.
And it would mean that learning experiences that drive adoption would have a clear focus. Learning programmes would be framed about the person, the role and the change, not around the administrator panel structure or the dropdown variables. The software itself is still key, but the learning is designed first around the people. Worth thinking about?
Author: Phil Garing is Managing Director of Synapsys N.Z. Ltd. and leads strategic consulting services