Go Live is Not the Finish Line

Posted by George Lowry on June 6, 2019


Every year I attend a number of industry-based conferences.  For the semi-annual conferences, my typical MO is to attend the keynote and plenary session presentations, then retreat to a common area to address the mountain of email that had accumulated over the prior two hours. The typical format presenters take is to introduce their respective company and then talk about how they implemented their Maximo system. Most of the presentations are simply a broad brush, but some really grab me like those of our customers, and ones that deep dive on a specific project workstream. One such presentation on change management, from an organization with thousands of system users, altered my thinking forever of a ‘go live.’

Now, I have never seen a presentation from the organization that I am referring to that wasn’t so polished one would think they had their marketing department developing their PowerPoints.  This presentation was no different, very well done, with the presenter owning the audience outright. Rather than generalizing their story, the presenter dug-into specifics by mapping out their change management implementation journey. The speaker described the painstaking efforts to decompose every part of the enterprise so they could identify the impacts to organizations and structures, even down to the role each end user would play once the new system was in place. The presenter talked about how they were numbers driven. They had many metrics they applied for planning their target audience communications and training program.  They even had metrics that they devised to ensure they were on-plan down to the hour during the deployment.  Their programmatic efforts were extended following implementation to offer training programs for new employees and follow up training… All the things that one would expect.

By the end of the presentation, I had two solid questions, and I thought it best to ask the speaker following the talk vs. during the presentation’s Q&A.  One, in particular, changed the way I thought about change management and managing organizational performance.  I asked, ‘you were very metrics driven during your implementation, what kinds of metrics are you using now that your project is over? Additionally, how do you know that change has become a habit in your organization?’. Then came an awkward pause in the discussion.

Because the presentation showcased the implementation, I suspected their change management program was focused on getting the project across the finish line and not necessarily the organization on the whole. The presentation reminded me that transformation doesn’t occur until after system cutover. Those leading change must extend their efforts beyond follow up training. It becomes critically important to use metrics down to the end user to identify those individuals having difficulty adopting change. Given this, there comes a point following cutover where change management should dovetail into ongoing asset performance management efforts with measures on people, process, and data quality.

Aligning corporate culture, structure, and talent with business strategy is challenging and complicated.  A project that doesn’t measure end-user process adoption following cutover, lacks an objective means to identify where the organization needs additional reinforcement to ensure adoption. Without metrics, how can one validate that change sticks?  And if one can’t ensure change becomes a habit, what does that mean to the project’s success and return on investment?

Go live is not the finish line… But in many respects, the starting line.

Written by George Lowry

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