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Changed Your Cheese?
by Sandra Noble, President
Noble & Associates Consulting,
Feeling stressed? Are you pursuing too many moving targets? Or, are
there just too many details to keep up with in general? You can't stop
the world and get off. Find out how to get on the bus and not get left
GOD, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.
--- The Serenity Prayer
In software and technology implementation projects, there needs to be
something called "Change Control". And why is this needed? No matter how
thorough the business analysis job or how complete the project plan,
there's always something that needs to be changed or added after the
fact. Users and potential users of the system or technology change their
minds. Or think of something that they absolutely cannot live without.
Then from the technical side, the developers, programmers and
implementers discover things that are incorrect or just won't work.
Programmers or testers find things called "bugs" - which is techie talk
for errors or system glitches. After all, that's what quality, quality
control and testing is supposed to do - Find things that will cause less
than desired results.
Testing and quality is key. And it needs to start at the beginning. Once
the technology requirements are finalized, you have the basis for test
scripts that can be used throughout the implementation process. There
will be change. So, there needs to be an orderly process for
incorporating changes and corrections / fixes.
One reason is that iy helps everyone on the project is in sync. It
avoids duplication of effort. And, it's less disruptive when there are
multiple environments (development / test versus live / production) or
multiple releases versions. It's an essential piece of the
communications plan. Change control is a recipe for success. And, back
to the Serenity Prayer: the introduction of new systems, features or
functionality is something that can be controlled. And the smart project
manager has the courage to mandate a change control process.
What we cannot change is people and how they react to change. Change,
even positive change, creates stress - another thing we can't change.
What we can control is the implementation and use of programs and
techniques that ease the pain and stress of change. And that's called
I worked for the telecommunications superstar, Lucent Technologies,
right before its big fall from financial grace. I was fortunate to be in
the CIO organization which was lead by a very visionary executive
Earnestine Barnes-Linder. She encouraged us to prepare for the changes
that she so wisely foresaw. Earnestine even distributed copies of the
book "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Dr. Spencer Johnson. I attended a
workshop by the author and was less than impressed. But, when I finally
took the time to read the book, it was indeed outstanding. Mr. Johnson
is an expert on individual and organizational change. The book gave
insight into how to recognize that your cheese or goal had moved and
provided suggestions on how to work through the feelings and adjust to
change. However, there are other books that provide more substance and
detail on stress and change management techniques.
Noble & Associates Consulting and its consultants have years of
experience with software and technology implementations. The whole point
of any new system is to change or improve some process, capability or
results. Since there is always change and people are stressed by change,
then change management should always be a consideration in project
funding, planning and management.
So what's the cheese?
* For an individual, it might have been owning a home. The current
mortgage crisis may be moving that cheese.
* For others, it might be life long employment with a company paid
pension. The economy and corporate mergers, acquisitions and downsizing
may be moving that cheese.
* For production managers the cheese may be efficient operations and
on-time deliveries. Disruptions in the supply chain, broken processes
and quality problems may be crumbling that cheese.
* The corporate executive may have thought that the least and greatest
system or technology was the cheese. However, cost overruns, unrealized
functionality and out of sync processes could be slicing away at that
* For the average employee, the cheese may be to feel like they are
competent and even expert at doing the job. The introduction of a new
system or technology, and the need to learn new ways of doing things,
could be the last straw.
In the final analysis, it doesn't matter what caused your cheese to
change. Change happens. Stress happens. Deal with it. Consider
implementing stress management and change management programs.
Impacted by Stress and Change issues?
I'd like to invite you to take advantage of our special offer of a
Sandra Noble MBA, CPIM, DCFS,
CDP, Six Sigma, is president of
Noble & Associates Consulting which specializes in IT Needs Assessments,
RFP creation, unbiased software selection assistance and we're the cure
for Post Implementation Distress™. We also have full life cycle
implementation expertise in SAP, Oracle and other enterprise-wide
Noble Finances, a
division of Noble & Associates Consulting, provides cash flow solutions.
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