Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

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June 25, 2015

Are we underestimating the importance of a well thought Change Management Strategy when developing Communications and Business Readiness deliverables?

After hearing all the comforting feedback I felt relieved and thought that my job as an OCM lead would be really easy. So I ditched the whole OCM wheel and jumped straight into building deliverables such as communication templates and business readiness dashboards. At the end, who has time for a rhetorical strategy and a comprehensive OCM plan with the overall tight schedule proposed by the program?
Soon enough I learned that if you underestimate the need of Change Management you're going to end up in a pretty hot mess or in a lot of meetings pointing fingers, blaming each other on the project team. And I can tell you neither of those things are pleasant!
Letting personal opinions or rule of thumb govern critical engagements are costly mistakes, especially when implementing technologies that affect a large number of users across the board. Why would you take the risk of underestimating users' reactions when the project you're working on will change their way of working?  There are multiple cases studies demonstrating how projects failed for overlooking the importance of human interactions and for not having a Change Management Strategy in place.
Then again if you bottle everything and carelessly continue preparing deliverables just to check the boxes; then, don't expect anything more than lack of support from impacted users. No proper Business Readiness Assessment or Communications Templates can be delivered, if you don't have thorough Change Management Strategy to start with.
Really, if you aspire to achieve more than ordinary results in your technology implementation projects and minimize push-back from end users, just give Change Management the place it deserves in every engagement and don't make the mistake of oversimplifying people's impact. Instead, plan accordingly and build some contingency in your projects to account for stakeholders' resistance, which is an inevitable response to any major to change.  

June 24, 2015

Stakeholdering, Millenials and Vision

June 5, 2015

The Politics of Change

The truth of the matter is most people aren't really interested in your vision unless it happens to dovetail with their own, and nobody exploits this more so than Washington. Through public hearings, polling and endless media outlets, campaign managers determine what positioning will make their candidate palatable to the majority, and then shift their strategy accordingly, resulting in the election of "wishy-washy" candidates. Politicos do the same when proposing new legislation, socializing drafts with Congress and incorporating so much feedback (and pork) that the final version voted into law often bears little resemblance to the original bill. This extreme degree of "listening" is why Washington no longer works and probably why the producer was suggesting one's vision may be less prone to distortion in Hollywood.

In many ways, we incur similar political risks with the work we do in technology transformation. We obtain input by gathering requirements, and whether this method clouds or crystallizes the solution vision depends on the balance of our stakeholder engagement. We must ensure that "listening" to users does not result in a foolish attempt to blindly obey their every command. While incorporating functionality people want certainly engages them, not every idea is a good one, and, as with legislation, by aiming to please the majority we risk watering down the solution to the extent that it serves no one in particular. To avoid this dilution without losing engagement, we need leaders willing to make hard decisions and communicate them effectively -- not just one leader, but an army of ambassadors with the ears of their specific stakeholder groups and the influence to put key decisions in the strategic context, continue to champion adoption and report back on questions and concerns. It's the quality of this feedback loop that keeps people focused and engaged, and makes all the difference between a successful go-live and a failed one.

Add to this political dance the inherent complexity of technology and project management and the ever-increasing pressure to cut costs, and it's a wonder we ever succeed at all. But we often do, and when we do, the payoff is immense. Since the industrial revolution, technology has been responsible for more economic impact and social progress than all the movies ever made combined. And unlike film producers, we do our jobs not by thrusting our singular vision upon our audiences, but by working hand-in-hand with them to help them realize their own. It's exponentially more challenging and rewarding, as well.

So if you really want to change the world, don't go into politics and don't make movies, either. Join forces with the people who are using technology to facilitate scientific advancement, ease human suffering, and create economic opportunity. Because that -- not the Silver Screen -- is what's going to shape the next 100 years.