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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Change and Transition

Many times we in IT discover as we are solving a business problem that the closer we get to implement the solution, the less enthusiastic the business community appears to be about the upcoming change. The same people who were anxious to get started and get the problem solved and remove the pain or extra work they were going through, now seem to erect roadblocks and obstacles to the incoming changes. It is very frustrating to spend time writing the software and preparing the system only to find the process workers resistant to the solution. The symptoms are late stage changes, reversals of choices, the sudden appearance of new authorities in the mix, an unexpected change in the guard, and a seemingly unending focus on minor details and testing.

Daryl Conner explains it this way, in Managing at the Speed of Change: “some of the strongest resistance occurs when we get exactly what we asked for – if what we asked for causes a significant departure from our expectations.” Clearly, coming into a new system or way of doing things is going to vary from a process worker’s expectations. The closer we get to the delivery, the more concerned and fearful of the change the process workers become. That’s when the business community, consciously or unconsciously, invents various strategies for slowing up the changes. Business analysts recognize the syndrome and work to make the transition easier for the business. Keep the focus on the benefits of the new system or enhancement, be honest about the risks and obstacles facing the changeover while being open about what is being done to overcome them to make a smooth transition. Primarily, business analysts keep the communication flowing among all parties removing as much of the mystery normally associated with technology as possible.

There will still be natural resistance. This resistance, however, can be made positive by listening to the opposing comments which may identify new obstacles that can be overcome. In the end, the change is inevitable, and the business analyst can do much to make it easier for those being changed.

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