In my last post I laid a foundation of doom and gloom as to how a good project can go very bad when people don’t actually use the cool new toys they’ve been given. Lets have a look at what is going wrong with this, and WHY it is going wrong.
Review project management:
So a central problem is that IT people omit the forecasting and contingency planning step.
They omit a specific part of forecasting and contingency planning:
Certain people are much more likely to take human data into account when planning projects, and this tendency correlates negatively with the skills that make people successful in many IT tasks.
The tendency to view data in a way that minimizes the less logical human issues is measured by the “Thinker-Feeler” continuum of the Myers-Briggs test, and IT people are highly likely to score towards the Thinker end of the continuum. (That is most of us don’t take the people factor into planning very much.)
I have a background in I/O Psych, and believe that people are different and this just IS THE WAY IT IS, (I also believe that puffer-fish are better than regular fish, so I’m not sure how much belief should enter into these discussions.)
Anyway! IT project managers who contingency plan well, look at the numbers (the probability of projects failing because of lack of buy-in – i.e. human illogical behavior) and the cost of this contingency, and work with people who can ensure that this does not happen in their own projects.
Once this reality check is passed, there is another we have to present to our clients. The work of attitude management is very high skill work.
The IT industry has experience in training that is about knowledge or skills. There is, however, another type of training that is about attitudes. This is the work of selling the choice to behave differently. Or, more succinctly… people gotta wanna, and the buy-in facilitator’s work is the work of helping them wanna.
So when it comes to training, the facilitator owns the problem of getting the end-users to choose to buy in to a new process, and to decide to commit to using it. S/he agrees what this must look like, in concrete terms, and what must be visible, on the job, within certain periods of time.
This frees the IT implementation team to achieve their IT goals without the very high risk of failure owing to factors that they do not have the time to deal with, or the inclination, or resources, or the training to use the most effective strategies. That does mean however that the two groups will have to meet, and *gasp* work together, at least a little bit!
Ok, with that all said, I think that my next post will give a few points on what steps should be considered for a large scale IT project roll out, which INCLUDES the human factor.
You can read the whole series on Creating Buy-In for New Software and Technologies here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3