By Erica Hodgson
Project management and change management are processes, and both are essential for successful delivery. The project manager assures that all strands work together so that the intranet is delivered on time, to budget, and to spec. The change manager ensures that the end-users are willing and able to use it.
To achieve this the change manager needs to be able customise the journey for the specific people who are going to experience the change.
It’s crucial to understand the needs and wishes of the end-users, which are the building blocks you need to make their journey relevant. Now you need to build the change journey you choose to use.
I’ve developed and use a three-stage methodology that is easy to customise and apply. It allows you to meet the challenge of a mixed-ability user-base, as it provides a safe, easy transition and encourages people to willingly embrace the new ways of working.
As an approach, it is not revolutionary; but it is successful. It’s user-centric, not technology-centric. It’s inexpensive to put in place, as it relies on drawing together disparate, but pre-existing resources and activities. And most importantly, it’s easy for everyone – from customer to project team – to understand.
I call it the ‘Get IT’ method. (Get I.T. – got it?)
1) See IT
The first stage – ‘See IT’ – is about awareness and recognition.
It is the first introduction of the change and brings the main points into the corporate consciousness. The purpose is to make sure people see what is coming with plenty of time to reflect, so as to reduce the fear of the ‘unknown’ before launch.
Communications must be well planned, repeated, and customised for different channels and different audiences, making sure people can attend to the delivery method that suits them. You’ll rely on digital and physical channels, such as the current intranet, newsletter emails, road-shows, drop-ins, posters, joining team meetings, and scheduled demonstrations. You’ll share screenshots and explain the priorities of the new system, highlighting what some people might do differently after launch. And throughout it all, keep all messages focused on why this is happening and what the benefits will be.
2) Use IT
The next stage – ‘Use IT’ – is the tactile phase.
Weeks before launch, you should allow people to get their hands on the intranet, or at least a beta version of it. People need to experience it first-hand, and realise that they cannot ‘break’ it.
This is when you start turning key people into early adopters. They might be the usual suspects, such as the digital natives, PAs, HR, service desk staff, and anyone within the extended comms team network.
Your official champions, along with the identified early adopters, will need traditional classroom training, but you should expand your channels to provide the wider audiences with early access to training. This can include e-learning, peer coaching, video tutorials, and self-help handbooks. Anything that can help people across the organisation learn how to use the new intranet for their specific tasks and understand that it is a tool to service their needs. People need different learning options to suit their environment, learning styles, and comfort levels.
3) Ask IT – launch and support
The final stage – ‘Ask IT’ – provides face-to-face and remote support. This stage starts the minute you launch.
The purpose is to bridge the gap between ‘I get it’ and ‘I need to do something now and it’s not working!!!’ – focusing on giving support when and where people need it.
I’ve trained champions and early adopters (from the Use IT stage) to act as floorwalkers – helping colleagues out through the launch week. The approach is based on train the trainer, but without the volunteers needing to massively change their daily routine. These champions are placed at a ratio of 1 to 25 staff, so that if someone sitting at their desk was frustrated as they could not complete something, there would be someone there who knew the system well enough to resolve the problem or call for expert help from the project team. We also had IM support where people could message their issues directly to the support team.
People will appreciate being able to talk to known colleagues, rather than relative strangers from the project team or IT department. And most of all they will appreciate having their problems resolved quickly.
I would like to emphasis that technology is a tool, and only a tool. The success of an intranet launch is not about the tools and functionality that make it up – it is about understanding the users, and taking them on the journey to achieve the business objectives. This is what the Get IT change method does; it allows you to stop talking tech and start talking about sharing, findability, collaboration, and the cementation of new ways of working that will benefit everyone’s working day.
Erica Hodgson, IT / Digital transformation
An IT / Digital business transformation professional specialising in improving organisational adoption of new technologies. Erica has a proven track record in developing and implementing award winning, effective and sustainable change programmes within UK central government departments.
With more than 10 years’ experience providing government departments solutions to improve their user engagement within cultural change programmes, Erica recently launched her own consultancy providing organisations with creative solutions to increase the adoption of new ways of working through IT enabled change programmes.