From resistance to acceptance: 4 tips for a successful project
In every change process, it is crucial that you involve the end users in the right way. End users regularly struggle with the pressure of having to manage project activities in addition to their day-to-day tasks. They generally have little or no project experience so they are unfamiliar with the project terminology and may not have the required skills. Moreover, they are often not fully aware about the commercial agreements, and this can lead to conflicting expectations and deep frustration.
The solution? Make sure everybody is well prepared – after all, preparation is half the battle.
1. Harmonise the project method
To prevent miscommunication, it is important to agree in advance on the project method to be used (such as Prince2). Then train the participants in the fundamental principles of that method so that everybody is speaking the same language. The same applies to the tooling to be used during the project. By training people to use the method and the tooling, you enable them to communicate as efficiently as possible.
2. Make sure there is enough user capacity
Start by making a clear estimate of the requisite skills and expertise to minimise the pressure on users. Then match these skills and expertise to the availability of people who actually possess those skills and expertise. If there are not enough of these people available, you can compensate for the shortage of user capacity by temporarily hiring extra capacity. You should also make sure that the department managers of the users concerned are actively participating in the project (for example, in the Steering Group). This will increase users’ confidence in the project because “their backs are covered”. All the users should be available throughout the project so that there is sufficient support for the solution that the project delivers.
3. Manage user expectations
It is important to effectively manage the expectations of the users. The documentation drawn up prior to the project must clearly specify what will be done – but also what will not be done – during the project. This information should then be clearly communicated to the project participants. That will ensure that everybody has realistic expectations about the solution to be delivered and will also guarantee the commercially agreed quality.
4. Project Management
Create the basis for a successful project by assembling a competent project team, introducing clear communication structures and clearly defining the scope before the project starts. That way, you avoid overloading users, giving users unrealistic expectations and putting quality at risk. And when you meet these conditions, you increase the chance of implementing a successful project.
Even if you forget everything you have read in this blog, remember one thing: a project is a shared undertaking, and you must always approach a project with this in mind if you want it to be successful.