Rollout - no an unpleasant surprises
The introduction of new software and systems is part of everyday life in today's digital enterprises. It is an important building block in the digitization of businesses. However, these projects often involve a lot of stress and effort, as they are often large development projects with complex technical engineering. And while these innovations are intended to improve processes and increase efficiency, the rollout of software and systems is always fraught with similar problems.
This article gathers and summarizes the four most common challenges from numerous projects and provides valuable tips. Anyone who decides to roll out a new program should be well prepared for these challenges:
1) Overcome resistance to change.
One of the biggest challenges when introducing new technologies or processes is resistance to change. Employees fear a negative impact on their jobs, may even have existential fears, and feel uninformed and uninvolved.
TIP: To avoid this, it is important to communicate openly and transparently with employees to inform them about the changes and explain why they are necessary. Events and training programs help prepare employees for the changes and help them integrate the innovations into their daily work. For example, we have found that regular meetings to share information about the progress of the project help keep everyone informed.
Another benefit is that if serious concerns arise, everyone involved has the opportunity to address them directly. This helps to avoid stumbling blocks later in the rollout.
2) Prevent unpreparedness
Unfortunately, rollouts are often less well prepared than software selection or initial implementation. All too often, the size and effort of the rollout is miscalculated or not even estimated. As a result, insufficient resources are allocated to transfer the project to operations and other business units or markets.
TIP: The process usually starts with planning the rollout. Make sure you have a detailed plan that covers all phases of the rollout and ensures that all the necessary resources are in place to complete the project successfully. Senior management must ensure that the project team is fully aware of its goals, priorities, and what is expected of them. It is also important to formulate a detailed list of all tasks to be completed and to allocate the necessary resources.
Plan each step of the rollout as precisely as possible and consult with your project team on the details. This will ensure that your overall project is well prepared and will not be blocked by foreseeable bottlenecks in the later implementation.
3) Address lack of support from decision makers early on.
Another problem with rollout processes can be that decision makers are not sufficiently supportive or involved in the project. Sure, day-to-day operations never stop, and ongoing work must continue in parallel, minimizing the time and capacity of employees to focus on the rollout. However, this can mean that the project doesn't get the attention and resources it needs to be successful.
TIP: It is critical to involve management early in the rollout process to ensure that senior stakeholders understand and fully support the importance of the project. Management should be shown a number of benefits associated with the rollout that can be used to identify direct improvements to existing processes. For example, this could be more effective communication within the company or new ways of working with partners and customers.
Ideally, management should be given the opportunity to hear about the rollout plans and provide input to ensure buy-in from decision-makers from the outset.
4) Prevent inadequate measurement of project progress.
As with any project, inadequate progress measurement of deliverables leads to a loss of control. Without adequate control mechanisms, problems related to implementation progress will go undetected and the project will not achieve the expected results.
TIP: Set clear goals and metrics and monitor them on a regular basis to ensure the project stays on track. This includes regular risk management.
In general, rollouts are challenging, but with thorough preparation, good planning, and careful execution, the hurdles can be overcome without stumbling. In the end, there is tremendous potential for your business.