Quick summary: Long-term strategies for supporting users and maintaining accountability after the go-live date
This is the final article in a five-part series about how change management can help ensure successful I.T. initiatives. Click the links below to read earlier installments:
The preceding articles in our series, “Change Management for I.T. Adoption,” focused on the first three steps in our approach to successful adoptions: Strategic Alignment, Co-creation, and Integration. Today’s focus is on the fourth and final step: adoption. We’ll then share practical next steps for starting your journey toward successful software implementation.
Supporting users after go-live
This is the baseline, and our team takes it further with two additional pillars, but we’ll start with what is expected. Our Change Managers are expected to support end users in a post-go-live state. Most projects with a Change Manager would be expected to host a suite of final deliverables:
- A detailed Change Closeout Plan
- A Change Nurture Campaign with continued feedback loops to monitor and identify continued pockets of resistance
- A Reinforcement Plan supported by the sponsor’s commitment to intervene and support where necessary
These support end-user adoption of the tool and are vital to achieving greater integration into your organization. While these deliverables are standard, we believe that our Change Manager’s job is not complete until the people they support are working within the new organizational state, experiencing a new “business as usual.”
Our framework positions our Change Managers to hold initiatives accountable to the promises they make. Whether facing tool implementations or broader cultural transformations, the tools, metrics and methods need to be tailored.
As an example, implementation is rarely the goal of replacing one software with another. The amount of effort it takes to successfully implement new technologies is almost always premised on key business drivers—increased efficiency, greater visibility, better data management, and high role clarity. We start building accountability in the strategic alignment step and close the loop here, asking
- What did we achieve?
- How do we know we’ve won?
Answering these questions for the team is important to ensure continued buy-in from direct contributors on future engagement and to those in the greater organization.
Celebrating the wins
A great job should be celebrated beyond those directly supporting and impacted by the initiative. An organization that holds leaders accountable to the promises at the foundation of their initiative and then celebrates those wins together as a team is one that will enjoy all sorts of performance benefits.
We keep our Change Managers engaged beyond a return to “business as usual” and proving a business case. We complete the victory lap with the team. Once a case is proven, which can take weeks or months post-go-live, it’s time to take those stories on the road and enjoy a moment of celebration. The final step in our framework is an internal marketing campaign that positions the leader at its core, spreading news of a job well done, supported with anecdotes of supported users and sustained business impacts.
Opening and closing impacts is crucial work for a Change Manager, but our work doesn’t end there. Ultimately, our success should be measured not only by the experience of the end user, but also by the successful organizational adoption and integration of the initiatives we take on. Doing so requires extending our workstream well beyond any technical go-live and into the space of proven business cases and internal marketing campaigns. When this is done right, the entire organization will know about and embrace this and future challenges.
If you have any questions about ensuring successful adoptions or how to implement this change management approach in your organization, feel free to contact us.
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Beau Platte is a manager in Logic20/20’s Strategy & Operations practice.