The key to getting more engagement in your new software project

It's as simple as S.I.P

The key to getting more engagement in your new software project

After rolling out many systems and solution for many years, and watching many systems get implemented in my own business it can be an overwhelming process and a difficult one to get right first time.

For me and many other professionals in the field, the concept of meaningful implementation and engagement leading to sustainable improvement and measurable outcomes is second nature but too many it probably isn’t.

Therefore I wanted to try and simply this with an acronym I created SIP (Situation, Involvement and People), I wanted to try and make this easy so I have tried to relate it to something many of us have. Children, yes my daughter and her next birthday party (9 years old!) and we all know children are difficult to manage/engage, so here goes…

Involvement

Don’t get everyone involved – gauge the right level of ‘Involvement’…. It will become too overwhelming and unmanageable. Unlike my daughters party, you will need to get your stakeholders to communicate with other stakeholders, but this isn’t your battle, you need to focus on the key people at the party who have attended the party. They will then spread the good word if they are happy with the processes and plan.

Invite people that will:

  • Add value
  • Can contribute
  • They care about the outcomes of what is happening or can influence

Make your system/project known within your business this will help you find out that you have included all of the right stakeholders.

Situation

Tell them the why, so they can understand the current ‘Situation’ …. I said to my daughter, explain to them what are you going to be doing at your party, so people can plan and get ready for it accordingly. The majority of people like to be prepared so allowing them to get an understanding of the ‘why’ is really critical.

At this point selling them the benefits of – why it is important for them, what are their benefits and how will it make my life easier. Once people understand this they will most likely fall in line, once I sold it to my son that he needs to attend the party but there will be lots of sweets and chocolate he decided to attend.

  • Don’t make it over complicated, keep the messaging simple
  • Put posters up around the organisation or send them digitally
  • Or I like slide decks that can be pdf and emailed out
  • Your competing with our system and projects so you need to make it interesting

People

It's all about keeping them informed and updated.

I have seen many projects/implementations that start at a really quick pace and there is a whirlwind of excitement within the organisation and then suddenly no one is talking about it anymore, or you get the odd question the kitchen area ‘whatever happened to that new initiative’/ ‘another failed initiative’, if people do not know what is happening they become disengaged with the process so you need to tell your story but keep it regular and in bit sized chunks.

You will know your organisation better than anyone else so you will be able to determine what regular is, if its too much people will just start to ignore it, as the updates also need to be meaningful.

I used to try and always aim for an update every 3-4 weeks, I would also try and send it when nothing else was happening in the business to make sure I got people’s full attention, it’s really difficult to gauge, so you can also ask the question internally to some of people involved. Some other key tips are:

Communicate:

  • Regular updates - keep them simple and short, most people don’t like to read more than two or three paragraphs, they get bored and switched off, well I do! Maybe the update can be graphical/image based with some key straplines.
  • Sharing benefits (make sure people are aware of the purpose ‘the why’, and what it means to them e.g. Me as the user, will therefore need to input less data etc).
  • Getting buy-in from senior stakeholders tell them about your communications plan and get their support, its great doing this at the beginning as you will need help throughout the lifecycle of your new implementation/project.

I don’t think this is a magical answer to getting people to use the system apart from principles that I have always applied and mostly worked. Good luck for your engagement of any project or solution in your organisation. It would be great if you could feedback any particular InPhase implementation and engagement stories.

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