Achieving Your Highest Success Rate with Configuration Management Solutions

Daniel Horton, CIO, Sallyport Global
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Daniel Horton, CIO, Sallyport Global

What if you could guarantee the perfect delivery of every project? We all know that is not possible, but it is naturally everyone’s intention to start each change initiative with the aspiration of making a positive difference. Whether that be improving an existing process, implementing a new system, or redesigning a dated procedure, we all want to know we are making a difference for the better. Positive intentions alone do not dictate the final outcome, but the good news is there are necessary precautions that can be taken to ensure you increase the chances of success and mitigate risk.

There isn’t a company that can escape change if they want to stay relevant; innovation is a requirement to stay ahead of competition. The necessary changes can cause resistance from those affected unless it is properly handled.  The change management process was designed to help achieve increased adoption levels and is one that must be mastered if you want your projects to succeed. The perception of a successful delivery is dependent on several factors and may have a different meaning to different people.  For the sake of this article, let’s determine that the definition of a successful project delivery is one that gains the approval of the stakeholders it affects by somehow making their work easier, more efficient, or more effective.

  ​Change Management systems should enable teams to operate more effectively so make sure you have the right one in place 

To achieve this type of assurance in a project, it is imperative to have the proper resources to do so. This includes having proper processes, a qualified team, and the right tools in place to provide the oversight needed. Project management is an art form and just like the arts, you need the right tools to perform. If you are one person and painting out the vision that was put in front of you, you will still need the right-sized canvas, paint colors, and brush types - OR - An orchestra that requires a team effort, each with their own instrument and contribution with a fearless leader conducting. Whether you are the one person or part of an orchestra, you cannot do your part without the right instruments or vision.

A vision gives everyone direction, a goal of what is being worked towards, along with the “WHY”. Plans should complement this vision by staying fluid with the understanding that there is always deviation from the original plan. In fact, deviation and adjustments should be part of the plan. Have a backup plan for what you can’t plan for. There are always unforeseen variables and there will always be a need for Plan B, C, D or as many contingent plans as necessary each step of the way. When Plan A does not work, there are twenty-five other letters in the alphabet. Be prepared for an analysis and realignment each step of the way.

One of the biggest contributors and friend to a project team is a solid process with a complimenting Configuration Management Solution. For starters, Change Management helps to lower risks associated with change, eliminate resource conflicts and redundancies. Through practical experience, the right system always pays for itself many times over.

If I had three pieces of advice to ensure your highest levels of success, they would be:

1) Create a culture that embraces change and understands that without it, your organization’s effectiveness to outperform competition will decline and negatively impact profitability.  The only constant is change, and the organizations that embrace change and master the process will stand the best chance of outrivaling others. Half of all change initiatives fail, so without the critical support from leadership, the odds will already be stacked against the project. It will be important to monitor the change adoption levels to be sure you know when and where to roll back or adjust. Create a platform that allows direct interaction with the stakeholders so everyone has the opportunity and proper channel to voice their feedback.

2) Identify and appoint a project team that understands the purpose of the full project management lifecycle and values the importance of a change management system. If you do not have the resources available to build a qualified and experienced team:  a) bring in outside help to oversee and steer the project or b) invest the time beforehand to get the project team trained and certified since they play a critical role to the success of the project.

3) Communication to your stakeholders is key. Develop a systematic approach to keep everyone in the loop.  I have always found it useful to start a marketing campaign even before the project is launched to create a buzz and anticipation within the company. Providing high level updates and teasers to the stakeholders along the way will also increase user adoption and help show some of the benefits of the initiative being put in place.

In summary, Change Management systems should enable teams to operate more effectively so make sure you have the right one in place. This becomes much easier when the Change Management solution is equipped with the key features you need to enable intellectual, dependable and effective change operations. Pick a Change Management solution that works for you rather than it just being a data input repository. Some of these beneficial features include providing real-time status through dashboards, automated team updates through notifications, and usability from a tablet and mobile interface.

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