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By Rod Miller, Bizkinnect Lead Consultant

Enterprise-wide software implementations are prone to bringing up lots of questions. Why are we doing this? What was wrong with our old system? How will this affect my work? Why do I have to give from my resources to help this project?

In large-scale implementations, there can be a perceived competition from fellow managers for organization-wide resources. This can create questions about demands on budget, employee time, management attention and data. As the project lead, it’s important for you to be able to provide absolute clarity in your responses.

If your team is involved in implementing an enterprise-wide software—such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) project—you’ve probably started hearing these questions already. You may be asking them yourself.

How can you communicate clearly to your team, management, users, and customers? Ask yourself these five key questions that will help you create clarity about the value that your software project brings.

1. What is the power of this technology?

Take full advantage of your Subject Matter Experts to understand the complete value this tool can add to your company. Even if the organization does not plan to stand up all of the tool’s capabilities right away, the importance of knowing what those capabilities are cannot be overstated.

For many people, understanding the big picture of all the benefits a software tool can bring to a company can be crucial to gaining their acceptance of the change. If your project will roll out full capacity over multiple stages, you will need to answer this question for each phase of the roll out.

2. What is the limitation this technology will solve or diminish?

Knowing what your software implementation will improve for each department is critical to project success. Again, you will want to be able to answer this question for each stage of your project roll-out.

3. What were the old rules that were in place to allow us to cope with this limitation?

One of the biggest areas in which software implementations can fail is by neglecting to stop using the old rules. These old rules are the previous processes that were in place to work around the limitation that the new software now resolves.

It’s like buying a new mobile phone and then using that new phone only within the limited part of your office where your old land-line’s cord would allow you to travel. Get rid of the old rules so that you can take full advantage of the tool’s new capabilities!

4. What new rules should we create to capitalize on the tool’s new functionality?

Still using the cell phone analogy, a new business process rule is created by being aware of the fact that your new phone’s usable range is now limited only by the amount of time your battery will stay charged.

So, you would want to develop rules around keeping the battery charged, buying a portable charger, keeping charging cords on hand, etc. While this is an elementary illustration to make the point, we regularly see this principle ignored with software implementation projects.

It is here, with Questions 3 and 4, that many of the Organizational Change Management projects I have experienced limit their efforts. This then constrains the ability of the organization to embrace change.

5. How can we embed the new rules into the system and decrease inherent conflicts with our business model?

This key question will help instill new changes into your culture. Take a look at who you hire and what your incentives are for both personnel and project or product managers. Answering this question for your project team, users and leadership, will facilitate advocating for the resources you need. You will ensure the project’s success and cement new practices into your culture.

(For further reading on this topic, take a look at Necessary but Not Sufficient by Dr. Eli Goldratt.)

Want to learn more about the difference between organizational change management and organizational health tools? We’ll show you how to use organizational health principles (like these clarity questions) to create PLM- or ERP-implementation project success in your workplace.


Ready to connect?

  • Sign up for the 45-minute webinar, “Conflict and Clarity,” with Bizkinnect’s lead consultant, Rod Miller. In this webinar, Rod shares practical organizational health and change management concepts you can begin to apply today.
  • Would you like a free one-hour consultation? Let’s connect!  We would love to help you as you implement these practices within your own organization.
  • Please note, we now also offer all of our services remotely via video conferencing.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to call us directly.  800-953-8112
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