8 Change management tips when introducing new enterprise software

Francesc Arbó Vasco
Feb 10, 2022 5:15:00 PM

When implementing software tools such as Jira and/or Confluence within an organization, the role of people in accepting this change within their work culture is often underestimated. It's not only about the technical part. Therefore, we'll explain the different phases to change management proposed by John Kotter in 1995 in "Leading Change," still in force, and adapted to our day-to-day life, specifically when introducing new enterprise software.

If we get to classify the situations our customers face in their day-to-day when implementing Atlassian software tools, in most cases, the large majority of people who should use them, reject them because there are shortcomings that haven't been considered beforehand the implementation. The cases vary, ranging from the use of office applications such as Excel and Outlook to ticketing tools such as OTRS, Zendesk, ServiceNow, and even unsupported versions of Jira.

Our first approach to deal with this situation, in order to achieve successful change management is to analyze it from a higher point of view to determine the root causes. Once that's identified, we approach the situation from two viewpoints:

  •    Technical: We understand the specific causes and procedures that have led the customer to decide to change their current tools for Atlassian products, allowing us to propose what products could potentially solve the problems and needs.

  •    Cultural: Users' perception of current software tools is usually one of the most common causes. People tend to perceive them as useless; therefore, they seek other solutions outside these tools (which initially were imposed without further consideration) and disrupt the system, which brings us back to the technical aspect.

Whenever an enterprise software tool (management or ticketing) is changed, which is a significant change, it's very likely to generate resistance to change among organization users. At DEISER, we know that proposing a technical solution is necessary; however, this proposal could be insignificant if it's a cultural problem.

We believe that doing the right thing the right way is the only situation we can afford. When we propose a tailored solution to a customer, integrity and transparency are core values we trespass and include in our offers as Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners Enterprise. These two fundamental values allow us to reach our and other teams' goals and, more importantly, the way we get them.

Learn how DEISER organizes itself to support hundreds of Atlassian customers with a small team >>

That's why we'll explain which steps you should consider when changing your current way of working and your software tools to the Atlassian stack of products.

What should an organization consider when changing its software?

John Kotter, professor emeritus of Harvard University, twenty-one years ago, published a book called "Leading Change" there, Kotter presented eight phases to a methodology that helps to change. This process applies to different situations: for personal and organizational change.
In the case, an organization is considering changing its software toolset, and it's expecting those to be accepted within the company culture, we propose to follow this series of steps designed to be focused from the company's cultural point of view:

1. Create a sense of urgency

Getting people out of their comfort zone is one of the first steps to take during the process. This will allow people to understand the need for change, and it's beneficial both individually and organizationally. Some keys to creating this sense of urgency include:

  •    Before formulating the need, it's necessary to discuss the current problems with the entire organization and gather all opinions.
  •    Address all the concerns of the team.
  •    Making the problem visible to the organization.
  •    Create the need.

Spend time enough time on this step. This point is critical, and it's necessary to have the entire organization on board.

2. Create a team or alliances

Identify team leaders. Involve them as part of the change to create a common front; this is a valuable strategy, especially if each of these people belongs to different teams; that way, you'll have change agents in different places throughout the whole company. This team of people will be driven by a sense of urgency and will help convince the rest of the organization about the need to change. This team should, among other things:

  •    Analyze risks and challenges related to this change.
  •    Have regular performance measures available.
  •    Assign roles and responsibilities to these change leaders.

3. Create a vision for the change

Change can be challenging to understand, especially for less involved teams. It's necessary to create an easy-to-understand vision that summarizes the main objective. By making the vision more tangible and straightforward, it will be motivating.

These first three steps are relevant functions that, usually, the team of consultants should perform during the pre-sales and execution phases of a software tools change project; In this particular step should cover the following:

  •    Before introducing the need, it's necessary to discuss the problems with the whole team and gather every opinion.
  •    Address all of the concerns of the team.
  •    Make the organization aware of the problem.
  •    Create the need.

4. Communicate the vision of change

Once the vision is defined, it must be shared with the organization. At this point, it's common to find resistance among the different teams.
For change to be successful, it's essential to detect what generates that resistance to the proposed change and create channels of conversation to explain the reason for the change through the established vision. To make communication effective, consider these factors:

  •    Establish a mechanism to receive feedback based on people's concerns and doubts.
  •    Ensure the entire organization is aware of the motives for the change and has access to the vision; find a way to make them part of the change.
  •    Communicate constant, straightforward, and simple.

5. Empower the team and eliminate the barriers

During the first four phases, the team will be detecting hindrances that could potentially slow down the change. It's necessary to identify those as soon as possible and neutralize them. The actions recommended at this point are:

  •    Analyze the obstacles from the worker's perspective.
  •    Clearly understand the obstacles and break them down for better analysis.
  •    Provide proper training to empower individuals of different teams.
  •    Ensure there're channels to communicate about possible hindrances.
  •    Convince people to collaborate in implementing the change actively

6. Define short-term objectives

Implementing changes is a long-term goal, and it can demotivate the team if they don't have short-term objectives. It's positive to define them for shorter time frames. It will help achieve them easier, providing a sense that the vision of change is implemented step by step.

Defining short-term objectives implies less pressure. When planning the implementation of these "bits of change," the prioritization of the initiatives must also be considered. The failure to meet an objective at an early stage of change can lead to demotivation.

7. Keep growing with a focus

After completing each objective, carrying out retrospectives to enhance what was done well and what could be done better is advisable. It will motivate the organization given it will help them consecutively meet the following goals because others more ambitions should be established furthermore.

8. Integrate the changes within the organizational culture

Modifying team processes is not always enough to bring the company cultural change. Changes must be part of the core of the organization. The change team is primarily responsible for fostering cultural transformation among other team members and, consequently, changing their habits. Some actions to follow are advisable for this end:

  •    Communicate change across the organization.
  •    Leverage the change establishing performance through metrics of improvement.
  •    Modify processes to contemplate change.
  •    Stay open to new ideas and improvements

When an organization has a series of problems that it has identified and needs to change, it's necessary to determine whether people favor the change.

Depending on the resistance you might find to the change, strengthening the management of these changes will be necessary, even going through each of these steps again, to ensure the adoption of the new software tools (that will modify the employees day-to-day) will be effective as soon as possible. Otherwise, regardless of the investment made by implementing the new software tool, this change will be doomed to failure in the medium or long term.

That's why the technical aspect of an enterprise software tool implementation is as important as the cultural change and the people who build your company, the base of any business. If you need help identifying problems in your Atlassian products implementation process, don't hesitate to contact us.

Contact DEISER to implement Atlassian products such as Jira, Jira Service Management, Trello, Confluence, and mor

Lead the change within your organization

We have already shared what you should consider when implementing new software tools in your organization. People are the base and the key to any business, and this is no different when using Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, or others.

If you're unsure about the approach you should take to manage the change when introducing Atlassian products, feel free to contact us by clicking below.

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