When you’re rolling out a new digital product to your organisation, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dealing with change management. It’s important to stay authentic and to lead in a way that’s right for you, flexing and adapting your approach to the particular challenges that your organisation faces, and the behaviours that you are trying to change.

Organisational change is not easy, regardless of the project you’re trying to roll out. Successful change management is carried out using a structured approach to implementing change, as it recognises early on that change can be a painful process for people, which can have a far-reaching impact across the organisation.

At Spring Digital, we start the change management work with our clients from day one. No matter how well you build a platform, you will always experience some form of friction when it comes to the roll out, so it’s best to start communicating early on and get people on board well in advance of your launch.

The biggest risk here is that your platform, and ultimately the change, will not be adopted. After so much work, nobody wants that. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why change often fails when rolling out software projects.

1.  It’s not compelling enough.

Whilst this should have been handled prior to the start of your project, you need to have a clear, compelling reason for people to change to this new product, and your users must agree with it.

2.  It’s not communicated well.

If you don’t explain why the product is necessary, people may question it, or worse, forget about it entirely. So, remind them of the benefits regularly.

3.The first exposure goes poorly.

Ease and success are great motivators. Make sure the first time you show your product, they can see immediately how this new system will make their life easier. Initially, it’s not the big things that win people over. It’s the simple sign on, quick record creation, and the nice looking report.

4. There’s too little follow-through and training

Change creates a lot of buzz and excitement early on. In order to maintain this momentum and ensure proper adoption, keep up with regular training and education on how to use the product and all its benefits.

Education is critical to adoption, and this will help people stay committed right through to the completion of the change.

In order to avoid these risks, you need to take a structured approach to your change management. There are four key principles to change management which you should embody.

Principle 1: Understand the change

For change to be effective, you need to understand all the ins and outs of what you’re changing. Implementation will fail unless you intimately understand what it is, how it will be achieved, and why it needs to happen.

Principle 2: Plan the change

Effective change doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s deliberate, well thought out, and the plan must be right for your organisation. Aim to ensure the high-level management are on board with this and championing it, and that should help streamline the whole process.

Principle 3: Implement the change

When rolling out the product, this may encompass addressing training needs, appointing “change agents,” providing support for people across the organisation, and setting specific success criteria.

Principle 4: Communicate the change

Everyone needs to know why the change is happening, feel positive about it, and understand how their life will be easier with this product. We like the ADKAR change management model here at Spring Digital, when it comes to dealing with communication in change. These are:

  • Awareness (of the / to change)
  • Desire (to participate in and support it)
    Knowledge (of how to change)
  • Ability (to change)
  • Reinforcement (to sustain the change in the long term)

Change and change management, if handled carefully, will ensure your product is adopted by your organisation. Whilst there will always be friction caused by culture or pessimism, by focusing on what you need to do to achieve the change in a structured, well thought out way, you are in a great position to get everyone on board with your project and implement change successfully.

If you have any questions on change management in the software space, please feel free to get in touch. Our team at Spring Digital has plenty of experience to share with you.