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Change Management in Digital Transformation Processes

In the current era in which the use of technology plays a critical role for organizations in order to remain valid, we started year ago talking about digital transformation processes.

We say process or strategy because the digital transformation should not be seen as a project that has a beginning and end, but seeks that the company, after the first cycle of changes, continue observing new technologies and analyzing their possible use for the business. In this context some companies create digital transformation offices for this purpose.

The creation of the digital transformation office does constitute a project, which includes a change in the organizational structure, implies consumption of resources of the organization and affects the way of working.

In the same way, each new technology implemented is an incremental improvement or it can generate a radical change in the way things are done..

In both cases you might think that technology plays the central role, however the truth is that a digital transformation project should focus on the benefit to the business and how it contributes to achieving the objectives.

Within this context, the main affected by the process of digital transformation are the collaborators and customers.

The employees who had been carrying out their tasks in a certain way are faced with a situation in which they do not know in principle if after the changes will still take place in the company, this can generate uncertainty and even anticipated organizational mourning. State in which, people significantly reduce their productivity and will hardly want the success of the project.

Think for example of the person who is responsible for moving or storing the physical documents. After a process of automation and the establishment of a culture of zero paper, this person in principle would no longer have place in the company. Under this same scenario, several variants may occur:

- The person is young, he entered recently and we could easily help him relocate him to another company.
- The person has potential that could serve in another position within the same company and can be assigned other different responsibilities, which generate value to the process.
- The person has many years in the company and is close to retirement. Here you can decide if you keep him a time, you offer him to make early retirement, you could still pay his salary without going to work, or simply removed him from the company.

A different scenario would be that of a specialist person with a lot of knowledge that is currently wasted and who, after the change process, will be able to invest his time in performing more interesting tasks that generate business value instead of repetitive operational functions. Under this scenario, this person may receive the change with pleasure, but only if he is properly informed about what the change is expected to generate. Although it is also possible that the person feels comfortable without having to face new challenges and not receive well the change. The only way to know is to interact with this person.

On the part of clients or users, the perception may go on the side that "before, It was easier", "I prefer to talk with a person", "now everything is more bureaucratic". When carrying out a digital transformation process it is necessary to know who your users are, to what generation they belong and taking into account the first principle of marketing, segment them and develop appropriate strategies for each of the segments.

In all of the above, the definition of purpose, good communication and training in new technologies and business models play a key role and are part of the change management required for success. This in turn implies the allocation of economic resources and the identification of agents of change that act as promoters in their respective units or groups.

A friend of mine Past President of the PMI Lima Perú Chapter used to say that human resource management is the blind spot in project management and other author David Fischman said that when the boss focuses on results, he can forget about people. This is called leadership blindness. Thus, it is necessary to remember that in a process of digital transformation, the human factor must be taken into account. Depending on the size of the company there will be multiple stakeholders that must be considered to participate in the project, be consulted or simply keep them informed. Failure to do so, jeopardizes the success of the project, its sustainability and as such the objectives of the company.

And remember that contrary to what you think, people are not afraid of change, they are afraid of the impact that change has on them.

Under this perspective, a first task must be for people to understand the impact of digital transformation. If this is not done properly, people will begin to invent situations, often far from what is really wanted and that will increase resistance to change.

It would be curious, for example, to think that the greatest saboteur of the digital transformation process is just the information technology area, however this is feasible if they are not involved in the definition of the project, they are not provided with the resources to support the change and in general if the human factor is not managed properly.

Be very careful with potential saboteurs, who must be identified and managed very closely and invest time in monitoring the willingness to change and not rush to go to production when it is not yet ready.

Posted on: March 06, 2019 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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