As humans, we tend to love our status quo: we like knowing what we need to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done. So, it’s not surprising that when we discover our primary work tool, like a ticketing system, is changing, emotions range from anticipation for some to downright panic for others. But regardless of the initial reactions the announcement inspires, it is the way the change is handled that greatly determines the speed of adoption and the overall success of the transition.
Simply put, you want to avoid hearing, “I liked it better the old way” as much as possible! Here are some practices to help you get this done.
Being that we are naturally cautious with change, an early introduction to the change is critical. Not only does it demonstrate that you care about your team, it indicates that this is a controlled, thought-out decision and inspires confidence right off the bat.
Frequent updates allow your team to feel informed and to ask questions throughout the process. This approach has the added benefit of alerting you to anything you might need to address, whether it be an individual’s anxiety about the change or a change in process you hadn’t considered when you initially scoped the change. When I’m planning this out, I carve out time in every team meeting to ensure there is opportunity to talk about the upcoming change, even if there is nothing explicitly “new.” Some people take longer to formulate and compose their ideas or concerns, and they may not have been ready to discuss them sooner. A caveat: If a decision has been made on a particular item or process, be sure to state that it isn’t open for debate, but encourage questions that bring confidence and clarity around the change.
Tell your team why you are making the change. Identify drawbacks as well as emphasize the good things. Even if we don’t like a change, it’s easier to accept when we understand it. It will take some individuals a while to come to that understanding or acceptance. But if you’ve engaged your team early, they’ll have time to get on board.
Stay Focused and Forward-Thinking
It’s inevitable that you will encounter references or wistful sighs about the past tool(s). Stay focused on the way forward; this decision has been made, and you’re not turning back. Constructively comparing the past and incoming tool can be helpful if used in process/output analysis. But shut down any conversation that is simply “I wish this worked like the old system.” That is unproductive.
Have a Roadmap, and Share It
While the new tool might have lots of features, workflows and capabilities that you’re anxious to implement, don’t expect your team to be able to pick it all up. Build a roadmap, and plan when you want to release or adopt something new. Ensure you have your internal process in place well ahead of implementation. If any orientation or training is needed for your team, have it ready and scheduled with enough lead time to allow for tweaks that your team identifies.
It’s not Supposed to Be the Same!
If the plan is to stay the same, why change? Changing your ITSM tool is a great opportunity to take advantage of things like built-in workflows that support the latest in ITSM practices, and it can be a “quick” way to mature your services.
- Be clear when communicating this message with your team; this is an intentional shift and there are supposed to be changes.
- Know where there are opportunities for your team to shape the changes and which ones are inflexible.
- Be cautious when customizing. Evaluate your reasons to ensure you are not bending the tool to fit an outdated or unnecessary process on your side.
Know What You Want
What are you trying to achieve? Know what your desired end result is for each of your services or processes, and then check that against what is provided by the tool. Remember, it’s unlikely to work the same way as what you are using now, so keep an open mind and your eye on the prize.
What are you trying to achieve? Know your desired end result for each of your services or processes.
Two Heads Are Better than One
You don’t need to have all the answers…you’ve got a team. Introduce new workflows and processes and ask your team to validate them: do they achieve the desired result (per process)? What needs to change to reach that result (internal process changes or tool customization)?
It’s About the Journey
Keep it rolling. This isn’t something that should be “done” upon go-live. Get your team comfortable with the idea of continuous improvement and have a plan for how you are going to sustain the new system, including a maintenance/enhancement process. This helps your team know that it isn’t going to be perfect, but it is going to be great!
Kristin Jones is a passionate customer support advocate with a focus on people and process, and has been leading IT teams with delight for over a decade. A lifelong learner who seeks to inspire others with fresh ideas, she is an active member of the HDI community and holds certifications in ITIL v3., HDI Support Center Manager and KCS Foundations. She strives to end each day having smiled more than frowned and having helped someone (or something!) work better. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kitonjones.