This is a continuation of a new blog series that I started about 6 weeks ago, which I’ll wrap-up over the next two weeks.  As a brief refresher, my goal has been to write a blog on one habit per week, and so far, we are still on track to wrap-up in another two weeks or so.  As I’ve mentioned in the previous habits, the content for this series has been developed over many years and hundreds of client projects.  In fact, in addition to applying the habits to all of our client projects, we often speak on these habits as part of a larger session we call “CPR”, where we discuss project rescue and how projects can avoid having to be rescued.  The ultimate goal here is to present these habits in a short and succinct manner, so that you can have clear takeaways to immediately put into practice on your projects. 

If you arrived here and have not yet read habits 1-5, I would encourage you to start there.  I have provided links below to the first five habits that that we have looked at so far.

Habit 1: Chart Your Journey

Habit 2: Stay The Course

Habit 3: Invest In The Unseen

Habit 4: Avoid The Silver Bullet Syndrome

Habit 5: Live In The Past

So, without further ado, let’s jump in to the sixth habit. 

Habit 6: Build It and They May Not Come

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You’ve seen it, right?  You know the movie, where a mysterious voice repeats, “If you build it, he will come.”  That quote comes from a great movie produced in 1989 called Field of Dreams.  I’m not quite sure why, but each time I think about this specific habit, I think of that movie.  The truth is, most organizations today believe that if you simply implement “the new technology”, that everyone will immediately and automatically (and of course without any prompting) begin to use the new system(s).  On the contrary, our experience has shown us that once a new solution has been implemented, there is still much to do to ensure it is truly successful.  After all, beauty (or in this case success) lies in the eye of the beholder.  In the next few moments, I would like to directly address a few areas where we see most organizations struggle to cross the finish line, and practical ways to correct these issues.

  1. Forget the Buzzwords - Governance is much more than an buzzword.  If you’re tired of hearing the word governance, raise your hand.  It has been tossed-around for years now, but regardless of what you call it, the concept remains more important than ever.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not one of the world’s leading experts on governance, but I do believe in making all things relevant where you can, so I would like to suggest that we rebrand governance as two discrete items: The Playbook and The Coaches.

  2. The Playbook – We have started to use this term more and more within C5 Insight, and I must say that I like it a lot.  In fact, we use the analogy of a sports team a whole lot around here, because although we have different skills, roles, and passions, we all need to work together daily, to form a single, cohesive unit.  A playbook is the tool that allows everyone to be on the same page.  Think of it as the rules-of-the-road.  Part of a good governance policy are the rules by which all users need to play.  Please forget the notion that a good governance policy has to be a huge document, that no one will ever read anyway.  A playbook should be succinct in it’s message, easy to digest, and easy to search.  In fact, we simply love OneNote, and often start our playbooks in OneNote to quickly get it drafted, and then can move that to a formal document, or even leave it in OneNote (which we have done).  After all, OneNote is a great collaboration tool, and often has more functionality than a standard wiki.  The point is this - you need rules, but it doesn’t have to take you a year to draft them, nor do they have to be so restrictive that your team can’t experience the benefits of the solution (more on that in a future blog).  Get started today with a quick list of DOs and DON’Ts, and you’ll be well on your way.

  3. The Coaches – On every team, you have coaches.  A project should be no different.  While they are often called stakeholders, sponsors or steering committees, these individuals are the coaches.  They help call the plays, but also often rely on the team’s input.  The coaches are also ultimately responsible for the win or loss, so they have an obligation and commitment (usually from the team owner or manager) to succeed.  Lastly, coaches are often the biggest cheerleaders on the team.  While they coach and direct the team, they also encourage and support the team.  Before you start your next project, ensure you have the coaches selected and on-board, as well as the players.  It will make all the different in the world.

  4. Ask for feedback – Before the project is deployed, ensure that you have a process or mechanism in place for end-users to submit feedback.  After all, the users who would be extracting value from the system were one of the primary the focuses of the project, right?  Users will help you fine-tune and enhance the system, which will only make it better over time.  One of the greatest successes you can have is user adoption, which will absolutely determine the ultimate success or failure of the project.  Bringing us back full circle to our title – if you build it, they may not come – meaning, just because it’s out there, and you told them to use it, if it’s difficult, doesn’t work, and causes more headaches,  users will find a way around the solution.

  5. Educated and Enhance – One of the best things you can do for your users – which leads to adoption, which leads to success – is to property empower and train them on how to effectively use the system.  Each role is different, so train them appropriately for the generic elements and for their specific role.  The point is, have a training and adoption plan, so that users are educated and prepared for the changes that may lie ahead, and through this, you can foster excitement about the new solution. Lastly, never stop improving.  As we mentioned in Habit 1, think about more than just the initial phase.  Sure, you may start with that phase, but it should not be the end.  Let the users and their feedback drive new enhancements, which will show that you are listening to the team, and enhancing the system to add value to what they are doing.

I hope this sixth habit has been helpful and relevant.  Again, the goal is to keep these short and sweet, so my desire is that you will be able to take away a few nuggets of wisdom and experience from this series.  Stay tuned for the final habit next week!

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