In the 19 years I’ve worked in IT, I’ve seen hundreds of projects start out the same way, over and over again.
Somehow, with each project, we expect better results than before, without making any significant adjustments to the way it is implemented. As an industry, we will classically focus on budget, scope, design, architecture, timeline, metrics, stakeholders, agile vs. waterfall, quality control methods and a myriad of other project variables and deliverables. Regardless of how well we do in the execution of a project, every IT Management solution has an Achilles Heel – user adoption. If we fail at this, the project is a failure.
We know we need user adoption to create value. If we build a system, a process or any other IT solution and people don’t use it, what value could it possibly have?
In order to get the results we expect from these solutions, people have to adopt them.
Is it possible to get viral promotion of a new IT Management function like Self Service Catalog or Business Service Management dashboard? Absolutely!
Adoption is a decision that we can influence
Adoption requires people to change their behaviors and thoughts to fully embrace new habits and patterns of working and living. When people decide to adopt, they become fully invested and ideally, become evangelists of the new solution and its benefits.
In order to influence adoption, we must first understand how people decide to adopt.
USA Today confirms that “… irrational psychology, rather than cool calculation, plays a role in..decisions.” In other words, how we decide is emotional.
Think about your own personal decision-making process when buying a car, for example.
First, you show interest. The car catches your eye. It stirs something inside of you. You like what you see and are motivated to learn more about what you saw.
Second we trust, or not. We whip our heads around to catch a glimpse of the manufacture’s emblem. If it is a brand that we do not trust, game over. If we do trust it, game on. I want it, I trust it…how do I get it? All emotion so far…
Third, we pass this decision forward to our rational brain. You conduct personal research of your own to rationalize, or justify, what you want to do.
Interestingly enough, while some of the rationalization is personal, most of it is so you can explain to your friends and family, the logic behind the decision that you want to make.
Finally, the decision always tips back to the emotional part of our brain, sometimes throwing all logic out of the window.
If you want people to grasp your ideas and really be engaged, first, find a way to get them interested. Fight the urge to rationalize the benefits with facts and figures. That’s like going to the gym and jumping on a treadmill spinning at 10 mph. It’s going to be painful.
Find a way to make it personal. The more personal the results, and the benefit of the result, the more motivated people will be to adopt.
Adoption can happen when IT leadership understands that there is no KPI that is more important than usage and user sentiment. Our vision and goals for IT transformation can live, but more commonly, die by this.
The quality and capability of tools, processes and people matter quite a bit, but it is not what matters most. Adoption and communication help build an emotional connection between IT Management solutions and the people who are using them, resulting inlasting impact and transformation.
What can we do to help change the status quo? How can we help IT communicate more effectively to improve business results?
Join me next time, to discuss how communicating results instead of requirements can help you focus on what matters from the budgeting process through to go-live and ensure your projects are not needlessly overweight.