Posts tagged ‘change management’

November 8, 2010

How do you deal with the critics and skeptics in your organization?

I recently came across this interesting video of a Harvard Professor discussing selling ideas within an organization (link available at the end of this post).  And it’s no secret that SharePoint requires a fair amount of evangelizing to change people’s behavior, sell solutions, and influence decision makers.  SharePoint is suppose to be a productivity tool – right?

In the video, the Professor discusses tactics the naysayers use such as confusion, fear mongering, or death by delay.   And I can honestly say I’ve witnessed them all — especially when you start discussing the “social capabilities” of SharePoint.  It’s kind of ironic actually that simply suggesting technology to improve the socialization of ideas and business discussions is met with such social dysfunction.  Anyway, the interesting thing I took away from the Q&A in the video was how to address the naysayers.  Professor Kotter recommends thinking through what the skeptics might say and then inviting the critics in to address their concerns head on.  He goes on to say that the discussion (or heated discussion) will get people’s attention — who might otherwise ignore the ideas as a result of our own personal information overload.   And come to think of it information overload itself just might be another tactic the skeptics use — if you like conspiracy theories of course.

Now when it comes to SharePoint and solutions built on SharePoint, I have to question whether or not it’s best to get a group of cross functional (or dysfunctional) stakeholders or business process owners together to agree upon a technology that many don’t understand.  So I’m going to pose the question to the community and hope the readers and lurkers out there might share their experiences or stories on some of their personal or organizational challenges?   Is it legal or compliance concerns?  Political?  Fear of losing control?  Is it mainly social features that raise objection?  Or SharePoint in general?  What’s your SharePoint story?  And how has your organization addressed the skeptics?

Link to video:

September 17, 2010

Don’t Forget the Change in your SharePoint Investment

We have seen SharePoint sites pop up and virally explode.  We have seen SharePoint used in many cases as a basic document repository.  In some organizations, we’ve also seen SharePoint used for collaboration, project management, or even process improvement.  No matter how SharePoint is used in your organization, you’ve probably taken a standard approach to implement the technology with the typical project elements:

  • Identify business need or opportunity.
  • Define the Project.
  • Design of Business solution.
  • Develop new processes and solution.
  • Test, implement, and train.

Or maybe you’ve gone one step further properly planning and outlining your roadmap to build out a centralized SharePoint infrastructure with a clear migration strategy for your legacy intranet or fileshares or collaboration spaces.  However, the traditional approach we normally take to deploy technology has resulted in many non-believers and those who continue to under-leverage the capabilities of SharePoint and rely on the old ways of doing things.

Yes, it’s important to create a solid technical infrastructure.  Like building a foundation to a house, you need a stable platform that can scale and perform for users no matter where they are in the world. And yes, you also need good governance of the SharePoint platform to manage and support users and the growth in demand.  While a secure technical infrastructure and good governance are 2 keys to a successful deployment of SharePoint, there is still one thing missing.   A critical ingredient which is not discussed or blogged about much is the change management component that SharePoint requires to break old habits and fundamentally transform how knowledge workers approach their day to day.   When I talk about change management, I am referring to people but not necessarily referring to the social capabilities of the software.  I’m referring to how SharePoint as a technology can reshape the “industrial psychology” of how knowledge workers connect, collaborate, communicate, and actually get work done in today’s service-driven economy.   While there are a number of methodologies and approaches to managing change, there seem to be a few common themes among the different schools of thought:

  1. Assess your organizations readiness for change.  Is it incremental or transformational? Are people aware they need to change?  Is there a sense of urgency?  Do they have the desire?  Where is there resistance?
  2. Knowledge about the change and vision.  People need to learn new abilities and ways of approaching the same work with the new capabilities that the technology offers.
  3. Empowerment and reinforcement.  People need to take ownership and the behaviors need to be reinforced.  There needs to be some short term wins and long term vision and approach to make the change become permanent.

SharePoint needs to be seen as a productivity tool and not just a place to store documents.  For this to happen, building the best solution on SharePoint is not enough.  Training and adoption can’t be an afterthought that happen towards the end of the implementation.  Change management needs to be part of the plan and addressed up front.   At the end of day, SharePoint is a platform that is not just about information management or some broad concept like collaboration.  If you want to maximize your investment, don’t forget the change.  Ultimately SharePoint is about people and the ability to manage change throughout your organization.

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