5 Tips for Helping Your Customers Deliver On
Change Management and End User Training
As an implementer it's always a challenge when trying to meet change management and training needs of a project, to balance
Managing to your “consulting budget” and contract
Ensuring customers do what they need to internally to be successful
Supporting your customer as much as you can
Maintaining and building a strong partnership
Here are 5 tips for Implementers to manage your own accountabilities around change management and training, balancing risk and profitability, all while doing what’s right for the customer. These tips amount to good discussions and conversations to be had with your customer. They don’t suggest a whole lot of additional services on your part, but can highlight the value you can add as a partner:
Help them set up good project governance to Lead the Change
A Governance committee (e.g. Steering Committee or Project Board) is a means to ensure engagement and accountability from all primary stakeholders
To that end a steering committee shouldn’t be just a “status update”, but an active working group that has accountabilities and actions coming out of meetings to make things happen
This might require time from a senior person on your team but even if it’s not billable it’s a great way to create visibility for your business to their leadership, keep your own visibility into executive priorities
What does this have to do with Change Management? The first step is leading change from the top. Without an executive committee or governance that reinforces accountabilities at the top, it can be difficult to ensure that leaders are demonstrating the behaviours required to help their people through change
2. The Right Team
Help them staff the “right team”, not just the “right SMEs”
Knowledge of the business and business processes is important during the implementation, but as important is finding the right individuals who can help lead the change.
Key characteristics of members of the “right team” include:
Adaptable to change (high performers in an operational context aren’t necessarily the best at dealing with change or ambiguity)
Works well in teams, contributes to good team dynamics
Works well with uncertainty, ambiguity, and stressful environments
Has credibility and a good “brand” with peers, can liaise between parties
Has a growth and development mindset
3. Business Readiness is Change Readiness
Build a Business Readiness or Cutover Plan that reflects Change Readiness
Often business readiness plans focus on completed training on the application, hardware and software provisioning, and data conversion. Change Readiness goes further in understanding:
How will the individual business units or departments operate during this time of change and learning?
How past changes unfolded and how those learnings can be leveraged to improve user adoption?
Are new lines of communication (e.g. between departments) required to support new processes? E.g. interdepartmental meetings
4. Adopt the System to Create A New Way Of Working
Help them adopt the system by doing a real “day in the life”
The system design is only part of the story for the users on the ground. They aren’t just adopting a system, they need to adopt a new way of working day-to-day. Test scenarios can reflect true usage and data in the system, but they often don’t necessarily reflect how a typical user’s day will be affected by a change.
Help them understand that it's their managers that need to “localize” how the system will be used by their people in their departments. You can help by suggesting or participating in “table-top” simulations of a “day-in-the-life”.
5. Learning Doesn’t Begin or End with Training
Provide opportunities for learning throughout the project and into the Sustainment phase
There is a great opportunity for learning through the testing phases. A common objection is lack of availability but a key message to your customers should be that finding issues early (whether a technical bug, process gap, or just an area of a steep learning curve) is way less costly the earlier it's found.
Customers are usually reluctant to extend paying for post go-live support, but there is usually a case to reduce the knowledge related issues by providing more intense on the job support right out of the gate. More issues are caught early, and learning happens immediately, reducing lingering knowledge issues that can continue well past the support period.
Be deliberate about the post-go live support period. Guide your customers in designing it to be a “period of learning” by ensuring all users have used the system to the full extent of their role. This requires more detailed planning on the customer’s part but takes the best advantage of your team’s availability during the support period so minimizes cost.