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How to Prepare Team Members for Change in Business Analysis

In starting your business analysis, you’ve evaluated your needs, identified your options, and selected the best tool for you. Great! Now what?! Do you just go forth and implement? In some cases, perhaps (certainly if they’re small tools).

But the large, high-tech, enterprise-wide tools are complicated, and they need to be implemented with care for true success. You can’t just buy a tool and toss it out there. People need time to plan and adjust. They need to know

  • What the new process is (including training and additional time to get their work done)

  • How they — and anyone else — are supposed to be working with the new tool

  • Who they’re supposed to turn to for help when they’re confused or before specific details are all ironed out

  • What benefit they’re supposed to get from this new tool that’s costing them energy and time

To ensure a successful tool implementation, you should focus on two key areas to help get the team on board for the change: motivation and competence.

The key to motivating stakeholders to accept a new tool is to explain why it’s good for them. Always tie the discussion back to how this tool applies to each specific team member. When members know how and why the tool can improve their work, they become more motivated to accept and use it!

Building competency with the tool requires that you provide a clear and thorough training plan, as well as support from all levels for integrating the chosen tool. Make sure you fully teach the stakeholders how to successfully use the new tool.

People don’t like feeling confused and easily reject a tool that makes them feel like they’re not getting it. You can avoid that by making sure you’re in constant contact with users as they learn how to use the tool so you can guide them and address any concerns or problems right away.

And don’t forget to check in along the way to solicit their feedback; sometimes they suffer in silence. Be sure to actively seek their input on the experience.

A team with inappropriate training or without a clear process around a tool may just get aggravated and become decidedly unproductive. Although the new end-product may be the same or similar with a new tool, the actions required to finish typical work are commonly different enough to confuse even a senior analyst until she’s had enough time to practice.

Whenever you bring in new tools to improve something, the situation always gets worse before it gets better. (We don’t mean to scare you; it’s just that to be successful, you must acknowledge the reality.) People first get excited about change, and initial expectations are high, but folks often become frustrated with the pace and reality of change (described in change management literature as the Valley of Despair).

As long as they don’t get so frustrated that they leave their new situation (an Exodus of Talent), figuring out the new normal, adapting, and recovering their confidence takes a little time before they get back to or achieve productive performance.

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