With the many disrupters affecting all aspects of our life, change is a constant (see my previous blogs). However, at the heart of any change are people, and change can be frightening for many, leading to uncertainty and inefficiency. All too often good ideas have been lost through poor management of change.
Effective management of any change is therefore vital. Understanding the current issues facing a business seems a very basic task for all implementing change, but problems can be hidden and the underlying root causes obscured by people protecting their current ways of working. This can be for many reasons, some related to maintaining their perceived status, others more driven by a fear of the new: the ‘known’ is far more comfortable.
So how are these challenges managed? There are many tools and techniques that are used across industries, and many can help understand the issues and concerns at a global level. However, the best technique is listening. Taking time to talk, and most importantly listen, to those doing the work can deliver far more insight than many workshops. A couple hours sat beside someone using the current tools, and seeing the issues they have, the frustrations they suffer, is invaluable in shaping the new solution.
We, in IT, live in a world where ‘new’ is exciting, and change is invigorating. To many actually doing the work, however, it can be daunting, and cause impacts on their daily tasks. It is therefore vital that we fully understand the work that our customer is doing, and ensure that our new tool is capable of meeting the true needs of the end users. My Grandmother used to say we have 2 ears and 1 mouth, and should use them in that proportion: not a bad maxim on which to base our delivery of change.