Change is inevitable, but it can be scary. We become accustomed to a way of doing things and start to feel we have things under control; and then changes are announced. People generally find this a bit challenging. This is particularly true when the change involves our jobs. And changes in software often impact how we do our jobs. What can be done to cushion the experience for our new or upgrading users?
There are a few places to start:
Communicate: Provide advance notice that the change is coming and why it’s being considered. When people are prepared, they are often less threatened.
Educate: Let those who will feel the impact (our users) know why this is going to be a good thing for them. What processes will be improved, what obstacles will be removed. Show them how any initial inconvenience will be worth the long term benefits. If you are running a pilot, identify thought-leaders and invite them to participate.
Listen: Users may express concerns. This is a good thing, especially if we can encourage them to be specific and then constructive. When we understand the problem, we can often either show why it doesn’t need to be a concern or else work on a satisfactory solution.
As you build your communication with your users, remember to look at the product documentation and online Help. Help often contains topics with exactly the kind of information that will help you to highlight benefits for your users. For example, each of the Sage SalesLogix online Help files contains a “What’s New in this Release” topic that lists new features and modifications in the release.
While change may be inevitable, just a few adjustments to how we approach it may be the difference between a successful implementation and a challenging one.