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What to Focus on First – When Introducing Software and the Accompanying Change

July 25, 2008

When you are targeting a software deployment, as described in the previous blog, you are essentially defining an introduction of technology to support a change in operating behaviors, which in turn supports reaching a goal or objective. The question is, “Where do you start?”  What behaviors, what process do you change first, second, third?   And are there any ramifications to choosing one starting point over another?  There definitely are ramifications to where you choose to start in work behavior change as you deploy software, but first let’s define three options that will guide you in the process of what change to emphasize

3 Options for Starting Points in the Behavioral Change Coupled with Software Deployment Process

1.The Risk vs. Value- Add matrix model.  Using this model, you begin by essentially rating the universe of behavioral changes required across a matrix of low to high risk (difficulty to achieve) and low to high Value- Add, and then typically start on the low risk, high Value-Add behaviors.

2.   The Incremental, keep it simple model.  Using this model, you begin by starting where the user group’s skill levels currently are, and focus upon simple behavioral changes.  You build sequentially to complex outcomes, keeping new behavior adoption to a minimum of 3 new tasks and duration under 15-30 minutes.  Unlike the first model, in this one you are not searching for the biggest “bang for the buck”, but are looking to secure “easy wins” and develop user comfort and security in the process.

3.   The Tipping point model.  Essentially any system of behaviors has a homeostatis and supporting agents that resist change.  The most efficient way to approach the change of new behaviors is to identify the tipping point, e.g. that constellation of behaviors and beliefs that anchors the current system, and target that for change first.  The tipping point represents the biggest vulnerability in the supporting structure, and usually rewards the existing structure, but is typically guarded by some power base.  This is a high risk approach, but absolutely an essential starting point when introduction of the change is likely to be thwarted by existing staff.  Strategically, which is the best model to use?  I think that depends on the environment you are operating in, and any deployment can have mixed elements from all three.That being said, here’s some suggestions:

  • If introducing software into an organization that functions very early in the systems maturity cycle, the Incremental model is often best to use.
  • If introducing software into an environment that is requiring rapid change, the risk vs. value-add can be an excellent guide.
  • If introducing software into a highly politically charged environment, where the software adoption may well be targeted or used as a pawn in power wars, you will likely be forced to adopt the Tipping Point model into your deployment strategy.

Bottom Line:

Deploying software, is essentially a launch of a change process into the work arena in pursuit of business goals or objectives.  Knowing where to start the change process, focusing on what first, is critical to the early success of a software deployment.  The Risk vs Value-Add, the Incremental and the Tipping Point models provide three different options based upon the operating environment into which the software is being launched.

Software Adoption; New Wine in Old Wine Bags and a

Failure of Nerve

Points in Project and Performance Management Improvement
System Tipping Points and Adoption of Performance Management Software
Software Adoption, meet Personal Preference for Managing Information
ManagePro and MProLite Implementation Guidelines

Project Management + Task Mangement + Performance Management = Strategic Management

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