Change Management is a structured approach to ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved; focus is on the wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they, as individuals and teams, move from the current situation to the new one.
As a Change Management consultant for Cohesive, I have seen many successes and some epic fails. As I look back over my career I have learned these five top mistakes to avoid in your next Maximo implementation. It does not matter if you are implementing for the first time or you are upgrading, avoid these mistakes and success will be right around the corner. To hear more on this topic, join me on July 27th for a Change Management webinar.
#1 Being TOO RIGID
The plan is the plan is the plan –until it isn’t. Whether it’s a rigid PM or an advisory board that is creating too much red tape, being too rigid can spell disaster. Instead, invite feedback and adapt to it. Project team members, end users, and even those not directly impacted can be great sources of feedback. If adjustments need to be made, don’t be afraid to make them; in fact, by simply acknowledging their feedback and taking action, you will find that the end user will have your back in the long run.
#2 Misguided Communications
This falls into two categories: 1. Communication sent using the wrong media, and 2. Communication sent from the wrong user. Let’s talk about the first category. If much of your workforce does not have a PC or access to e-mails, it would be a mistake to send project updates or communications via e-mail. Try instead to get message out using posters or during standing safety or staff meetings. To the second point, make sure that the sender of the message is the right person. Years ago, a client wanted e-mails sent to users from CIO – and all other communications (posts on intranet) signed by the CIO. In their case, this didn’t work well. The CIO was based in Houston in a nice high-rise office, but the end users were spread across the eastern US, and were out in the field. Most had never set foot in the corporate office –let alone knew who the CIO was. So, many of these messages were simply ignored. It would have been more effective to provide supervisors with information that they could share during their daily stand up meetings. An even better approach would be to create a network of users at all levels (including front-line employees) and arming them with the talking points and information to cascade to the organization.
#3 Assessment Overload
In the first point, I talked about getting feedback; however, it is critical to avoid overloading users with too many surveys. Overloaded users start ignoring you and will stop providing you with the honest and valuable feedback you need. How many times can you ask a question anyway? Try not to fatigue your users with asking them “How’s it going?” versus letting them simply get going.
To avoid assessment overload, try the following:
- Consider other projects and perhaps combine surveys
- Try to get real-time feedback during demos or lunch and learns. There are plenty of real-time survey tools that attendees can access with their smartphones.
Keep up with the responses you receive, especially those that are in a negative category. Your chief nay-sayers can become your biggest super users and champions.
#4 Starting too late
In my experience, change management and training are typically the last to the (project) table – and the first to be cut from the budget. In the long run, a quick financial win might spell greater financial disaster. Designing a system without the users in mind means that they will likely not use the system the way that management and the company leaders would like them to. Change management and training professionals can act as the end user advocates or Maximo usability experts even during the requirements and design workshops. So, bring them in early, even if it means that they play multiple roles early on – change management professionals are often great facilitators during workshops.
Also, your employees should feel they “own” the system, so make sure key employees are included early in the project – and make sure they are not just managers and above. With many of my former clients, the largest group impacted were field and front-line workers. Make sure they are represented here, too.
#5 Big BANG Training Approaches
If you feel that training is a one-time event, then read-on. Go-live training should be considered the “final exam”; users should have multiple opportunities throughout the project to receive Maximo training. I’ve come into a classroom and been asked, “Why am I here?”. Make sure your trainers aren’t faced with this. Remember your audience is going to be varied with levels of understanding and abilities – and you will only able to recognize this if you train them early.
Avoid this by giving several users access to the new system early, allowing them to become savvy and familiar with the system and new features. This will give you several internal champions and provide positive word of mouth amongst the team. In addition:
- Provide several dates, times and locations for hands on training – don’t forget your shift workers and your auxiliary locations.
- Allow users to attend all, or just one course, as long as they are comfortable and confident with the system – and offer “sneak peek” courses like a basic navigation course even before the system is fully configured.
- Prepare a support structure for after go-live and make it public well in advance. Make sure everyone impacted knows who to call when things go wrong (because they will), where they can take extra or remedial training courses, and where they can find answers to frequently asked questions.
In conclusion, your goal is to make sure your employees are using the system, that they are entering the right data at the right time into Maximo, and that the company leadership can trust and receive the information they need to make day-to-day business decisions. Avoiding these mistakes above will ensure that you set your organization up for success.
To learn more about best practices for successful change management, join my webinar on July 27th.