Successful Technology Implementations Transcript


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Your company has invested millions of dollars in a major enterprise application. Your technology professionals have spent months or years preparing for the launch.

This program discusses how coaching can ensure a successful implementation and – yes – a positive experience for your workforce.

Our experts discuss how professional coaching can help management teams plan all aspects of an implementation, anticipate obstacles and remove barriers, communicate benefits of change, and stage the actual launch.


* Majid Abai, President/CEO, Seena Technology Corporation

* Susan Alvey, Organizational and Leadership Development Coach

* Dr. Jeremy S. Lurey, Founder and Principal, Plus Delta Consulting, LLC


Over the past ten years, scores of Fortune 1000 organizations have felt the pain associated with introducing a new technology in their organizations. From ERP to CRM, these applications
have streamlined data and processes for companies, but have certainly taken a toll as well.

Executive sponsors aren’t always involved as they need to be, and a significant number of individuals within most organizations are resistant to these new applications. Our experts discuss how coaching can help.

Topics covered range from recommendations on how coaches can partner with executives, stakeholders, and project managers throughout an implementation, to the competencies
required to successfully manage the change resulting from the introduction of a new application.

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Successful Technology Implementations Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Successful Technology Implementations Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: IEC: Insight Ubiqus Reporting Educational Consulting
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:30 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors, and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I’m Tom Floyd, the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today’s show. Well Today’s show focuses on how coaching can help to ensure a successful technology implementation or rollout. You’ll learn how professional coaching can help individuals at all levels within an organization during an implementation from anticipating obstacles and removing barriers to communicating the benefits of change and staging the actual launch. So let’s set the stage – when we say large scale technology implementation – what are we talking about? For the sake of today’s show, when we say technology implementation or software rollout, we’re talking about enterprise applications including, but not limited to: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) HR Software Marketing Resource Management (MRM) software eBusiness Business Intelligence Medical software Retail software Let’s look at some data our research team pulled up through a few quick searches, in terms of general challenges companies tend to experience when rollout out a large application like one of the ones we just mentioned. One article our team looked at was within the IT Toolbox, and it was related to a blog. Based on respondents' responses to a survey the IT Toolbox folks sent, lack of employee buy-in is the biggest problem facing ERP project teams. 38% found this to be the most challenging issue. A large group also found lack of ERP expertise to be the biggest problem (33%), while 19% identified a lack of project resources. Only 10% indicated that lack of project budget is their biggest problem. Perhaps the most surprising result is related to executive buy-in. Not a single respondent identified executive support as their biggest challenge. Our research team also found some data on related to CRM rollouts, and in terms of challenges some included: 2 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 2 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript Relying on CRM when it is not the right tool for the job. Counting on the software alone to produce value, rather than using the technology solution to support a sound, market-driven strategy. Counting on a CRM package to deliver results quot;out-of-the-box.quot; Neglecting to integrate CRM throughout the business processes. Failing to segment customer data effectively - that is, seeking a quot;360 degree viewquot; of the customer, when the majority of the benefit may stem from just a small portion of the data collected. Additionally, there was an article on Computer World that talked about some of the challenges with open source software applications, and many of these challenges seemed to be more technical in nature, related to: Support availability Functional limitations of the software Software license terms Rapid software release cycles Package road maps or future plans Now with my IEC consultant hat on, from my experience what I’ve found in managing and consulting on enterprise rollouts, is that project planning and management throughout the project, organizational change management upfront and throughout the lifecycle of the project, and training throughout the organization prior to the introduction of a new system as well as after it can definitely help in addressing many of these issues. But can coaching help to address any rollout challenges – especially from a human or people perspective? Well that’s the question of the day on today’s show, and we’ll be anxious to hear our guests’ thoughts on the topic. Let me give a quick overview of each of our three guests today. Majid Abai is President/CEO of Seena Technology Corporation, an information management consultancy located in Santa Monica, CA. During the past 24 years, he has focused on providing enterprise IT & information strategies as well as implementation of major business systems to Fortune 2000 organizations. Majid coauthored “Data Strategy” book published by Addison-Wesley in 2005 to provide a comprehensive roadmap in building a sound data strategy for organizations. He has developed and teaches classes at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Majid is a regular contributor to He is continuously invited to consult and lecture on various information management and enterprise architecture subjects globally. Welcome to the show Majid. 3 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 3 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 6:20 Majid Abai Thank you. 6:21 Tom Floyd Our next guest is Susan Alvey. Susan Alvey is an expert in organizational and leadership development. She designs and delivers groundbreaking leadership development solutions for corporate clients and works closely with executives to ensure that their leadership capabilities support their business strategy. As the head of organizational learning and development for Harvard Business School Publishing from 2001 until 2006, Susan drove the learning and development efforts for this multi-faceted publishing company. She served as a Subject Matter Expert for Harvard Business School Publishing’s eLearning programs on leadership and management development and is on the Professional Development Review Board for Harvard Business School Publishing’s eLearning products. She also worked with HBSP corporate clients to develop and deliver on-site management development programs. Prior to her work at Harvard Business School Publishing, Susan served in various positions at Tufts Health Plan, including Director of Organizational Learning and Communication and Director of e-Commerce. Other previous positions included Associate Professor of business at Endicott College, consultant with Arthur D. Little, and staff consultant with the MITRE Corporation. Welcome to the show Susan. 7:27 Susan Alvey Thank you very much. 4 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 4 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 7:28 Tom Floyd And last we have Jeremy Lurey. Dr. Jeremy S. Lurey is the Founder and Principal of Plus Delta Consulting, LLC. Dr. Lurey specializes in organization and leadership development and works closely with his clients to manage large-scale organizational change initiatives. With more than 12 years experience as a management consultant, he has worked with clients ranging from small start-up operations to Fortune 100 corporations. Dr. Lurey has particular expertise in transforming business processes, facilitating executive and management development, and enhancing team performance. Highlights from his experience include: Leading several change management efforts to reduce employee resistance and enable faster transition processes during SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and other systems implementation initiatives. Designing and facilitating customized leadership development programs, including one-on-one coaching and group workshops, to enhance senior leadership skills and improve management team performance. In addition to his work as a consultant, Dr. Lurey has written several publications on organization development, leadership excellence, change management, and virtual team effectiveness. Before establishing Plus Delta, he worked at both PricewaterhouseCoopers and Andersen Consulting. Welcome Jeremy. 8:41 Dr. Jeremy Thanks Tom, pleasure to be here. Lurey 8:43 Tom Floyd Pleasure to have you. Now today’s show is going to be a group discussion. I’m going to pose questions to our guests as a panel to get the group’s thoughts, and now that we’ve talked a little bit about what an enterprise or large-scale technology implementation is I’d like to start by talking about what an implementation typically looks like before we talk about how coaching can we used as an intervention during a rollout. So here’s my first question; what are the primary phases that the three of you see in a large-scale technology rollout? In other words what’s the lifecycle of a technology implementation look like? Majid, let’s start with you. 5 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 5 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 9:20 Majid Abai Thanks Tom. The phases that I’ve thought about regarding this question typically are based on Rational Unified Process. A large implementation is broken down into four phases; phase I is called inception where organizations basically decide that they’re going to go forward and they go ahead and think about the process and the project that’s going to be taking off. The second phase is called elaboration where they elaborate on basically the details of the project. The third one is considered construction when the actual system integration is taking place. And the last but certainly not least is transition where they do make the implementation, they do transition, they work over and train users on what needs to be done and how the system needs to be used. 10:22 Tom Floyd So that was inception, collaboration, construction, and transition? 10:26 Majid Abai Elaboration. 10:27 Tom Floyd Elaboration, got it. 10:29 Majid Abai Construction and transition. 10:30 Tom Floyd Okay, got it. Susan is there anything that you would add to that? 10:34 Susan Alvey No, I think those phases I would definitely agree with and in a lot of situations that I’ve been involved in the groups use kind of a project management theme through it and define the project into or the program into different phases corresponding to what project management might call them, so for example it might be planning to start with which would include your sort of I think what Majid said is the inception process. 11:01 Tom Floyd Right. 6 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 6 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 11:02 Susan Alvey Which defines scope and roles and business requirements and things like that, and then move into design as the next phase, development for the actual creation of the technology that’s involved, and then implementation which is the rollout and involvement of stakeholders. 11:19 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I’m hearing the commercial believe it or not for our first break so let’s go ahead and go on pause for a second and when we return more on how coaching can be a useful tool in doing large-scale rollouts, stay tuned. 14:05 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. Well today’s show for those of you just joining us we’re talking about how coaching can be an effective or useful intervention during large-scale technology rollouts, and where we left off we were setting the stage and we were talking about some of the primary phases during a large-scale rollout and one our guests, Majid, had defined those as inception, elaboration, construction, and transition. Another of our guests, Susan, was talking about how a lot of clients or organizations can tie it more too standard project management phases as well such as planning and implementation, planning design I should say, implementation things like that. So kind of moving onto the next question is as we start to talk about coaching a little bit one thing that I think all of us have probably heard is that systems implementation efforts actually have a better chance of failing than succeeding. I think a lot of us have probably seen that in action sometimes as well. As guests from all of your perspectives do you find that that’s true as well? Jeremy, what are some of your thoughts? 15:12 Dr. Jeremy Absolutely Tom. Lurey In our work with clients we talked about the 80 percent factor, 80 percent of all change efforts tend to fail to deliver some kind of intended business result. It could be that they’re not completed on time, could be that the final functionality that’s delivered by the technology team just doesn’t meet the business need so we try to bring our change management and coaching approaches to really help focus on the end users to make sure they understand what the change is all about, make sure that we have executive commitment and buy-in throughout the process so that we bring that up to more positive, more productive numbers. 7 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 7 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 15:49 Tom Floyd Now the piece that you mentioned about not meeting business needs I think is interesting. I found from my experience sometimes you’re sitting around the table with the people during a large-scale rollout and if you ask a simple question like why are we doing this again? You kind of get this look like well the software was fantastic and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they talk about that but you’re thinking but why are we doing this if I have my with them head-on what’s in it for me? What’s in it for our users too? So you find that that generally is an issue as well? 16:20 Dr. Jeremy Absolutely. Lurey I mean and when we start asking some of the initial questions early in the lifecycle of a project people have no idea what’s in it for them, they have no idea what the impact to their jobs may be, and that’s our role as coaches and consultants working with the project team to make sure over the course of what could be a 12, 15-month, or even longer project that we help educate people so that by the time they do flip that switch as we call it and the system does go live people are informed, they are ready, willing, and able at that point to use the new system. 16:51 Tom Floyd Majid, what are some of your thoughts? 16:54 Majid Abai For a long time I have been telling my clients and my colleagues that if the implement, a large-scale system, an application and no process changes we have wasted our money, and to me that’s a problem that continuously happens where we basically implement a new large-scale application but our teams, our inducer teams are hesitant to change. And I believe that coaching and supporting throughout the effort actually helps in them being able to make that transition easier. 17:41 Tom Floyd Do you find or do you think that a lot of companies from your experience expect nothing to change as a result of introducing something new, alike, especially something big and new in this case like an enterprise application? 8 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 8 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 17:56 Majid Abai Well I don’t think that they expect nothing to change I don’t think they think about the process enough. It basically becomes a technology implementation and they think we just get a bigger, faster, larger system where as I said my belief is that that’s just a waste of money if you don’t improve our processes and methods of doing business. 18:21 Tom Floyd And Susan, what are some of your thoughts? Do you think or find as well that a lot of the folks that you work with don’t think about the process enough? 18:29 Susan Alvey Absolutely, and actually the way that I look at it and often work with clients is that there’s really in any kind of large-scale technology implementation there are really three things to be thinking about in terms of what’s changing; one is technology and that’s what they seem to be readier to think about because often that’s what drives the new program, but also process, the process changes that are necessary for supporting that technology change, and the people. So what is it that people have to think or do or in what ways do they have to behave differently as a result of this and so changing as people process and technology changes altogether that have to be led, and so looking at the implementation that way in terms of the three legs of the stool if you will that have to be considered then that’s, and coaching leaders to think that way is extremely critical if they don’t think about it that way already. 19:27 Tom Floyd So along the lines of people let’s talk a little bit about change and the people. During a large technology rollout from your perspective why do people seem to be so resistant to that technology change? Susan, let’s- 19:44 Susan Alvey Oh I’ll take this one. 19:47 Tom Floyd Go ahead, yeah. 9 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 9 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 19:49 Susan Alvey I think a lot of it is they first of all in any large technology change there are lots of different stakeholders and each one has a different viewpoint in terms of where the business impacts them and also what their expectations are, and at any point in the process their expectations can be different. So I actually am a strong believer that in looking at the people part of implementations it’s a lot about expectations management, and for the people what will this be, what will this change be, what will it involve, how will it impact them, what will be different for them? And the better job that leaders do in defining those expectations even if they change along the way because I think as somebody else had just recently said this could be a really long time for this implementation and things can change through that, so refreshing and maintaining and good effort for managing expectations is really going to help the people change, help them get on board, help them be satisfied in the end with they’ve got something they wanted, so expectations management is an important part. 21:02 Tom Floyd So it’s really kind of clearly setting the stage around this is what it is and this is what it isn’t, this is what it is going to do and this is what it is not going to do. If you’re expecting it to make coffee it’s not going to do that. 21:12 Susan Alvey That’s right. 21:13 Tom Floyd Got it. 21:14 Susan Alvey That’s right. 21:14 Tom Floyd And Majid, what’s been some of your experience around that? Have you found that expectation management has been important as well? 21:21 Majid Abai Absolutely. That is in my opinion what counts the most as one transitions a large-scale implementation into other production ready environment because in a lot of cases end users are not ready at all; they do not know what to expect, they haven’t had enough training, they do not know how processes improve as a result of this new system, and that’s where our challenge is knowing where to begin. 10 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 10 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 21:57 Tom Floyd Got it. Jeremy, anything that you would add in terms of expectation management, and particularly around end users in this case being ready or in the know so to speak? 22:07 Dr. Jeremy Absolutely. Lurey I think resistance is really important to look at in a large technology change. Most project managers or IT folks that I’ve partnered with in various client projects think resistance is a bad thing, and I would encourage all of us especially as coaches to look at resistance for what it is. It simply is an end user or someone pushing back and saying wait I can’t buy into that yet, something doesn’t feel right here. And we work at three levels of resistance; one is simply a lack of understanding where people don’t get it, and then all of the communication tools within our arsenal are great for understanding, send one more e-mail, have one more town hall, put together another spreadsheet of analysis on benefits and so on, but the majority of the resistance that we face is at a deeper level, it’s either a level II if I don’t like it some kind of a fight, flight, a fear response kicking in, or even level III which is around trust and at those levels of resistance you can’t send one more e-mail and expect people to get it. You have to start having group conversations, even one-on-one conversations which is right where I think the coaching comes in to play. You need to understand what people are reacting to, what is it that they’re resistant about? Is it that maybe they fear their jobs are going to be lost? Part of the trust issues I’ve faced is people have come from different organizations where they were told SAP won’t be reason for getting rid of jobs, we’re not going to have lay offs because of this technology implementation. Well the reality is that they got laid off. So now when as a consultant I go in and say don’t worry about the lay off it’s not going to happen, that’s not the goal, they don’t trust me. So you need to get at those deeper issues to understand where the resistance is coming from and then see what you can do to harness it. It may be that people have great ideas about the technology and you just need to ask them for their input. They want to be able to design the solution, not just have it forced upon them. 11 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 11 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 24:01 Tom Floyd One thing I really like about the model that you mentioned too that if I put my change management consultant hat on as well is that people go through any time there’s change in life professionally or personally they go through a wave or process; it’s shock first and then it’s anger and then it’s exploration, and finally it’s acceptance and adoption, and I think a lot of that at least what I’m hearing in some of the things that you’re saying too is that it’s meeting people where they’re at in that process too. So if they are in shock still at that phase and you’re sending e-mails about how it’s great and it’s going to improve their jobs and it’s almost like they’re stepping back and saying well wait a minute I don’t care that it’s going to improve my job because I’m in shock that I even have to do this first. So it’s really meeting people where they’re at as well, at least that seems to be pretty important too. How about any of our other guests? Anything that you would add on that note? Susan or Majid? 24:58 Susan Alvey Yeah, I think that addressing resistance or first just acknowledging that there is resistance in understanding how to deal with that resistance brings up an important skill set that leaders have to have through technological change and that is that they need to be aware of their own behaviors and the impact that those behaviors have on the business, on other people. This is something that a lot of, I’ve found a lot of technology leaders aren’t so aware of their own behaviors, aren’t aware of what impact they have on other people, and in managing resistance it’s really important to be able to pay attention, to listen, to understand, what those other stakeholders at whatever level they are, they could be internal or they could be external, what they’re going through, what their level of resistance is because if I as a technology leader don’t acknowledge that, am unaware of what my messaging or what my behaviors are conveying and the impact of those then I’m going to miss it, I’m going to miss opportunities to build relationships with stakeholders, I’m going to miss opportunities to clarify the vision, to set expectations, to create relationships, all of the things that would enable success in the implementation overall. So behaviors and awareness of behaviors and the impact of those behaviors is a key skill set that leaders need to have through these kinds of implementations. 12 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 12 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 26:34 Tom Floyd Yeah, I can definitely see that’s important, particularly because they’re so up in front. I mean they have a high amount of visibility. Now when we talk about the types of people are the key roles who are typically involved during a large-scale rollout, some of the roles that come to my mind and I’ve already heard some of these terms come up today, you’ve got executive sponsors, you’ve got stakeholders, you’ve got project managers both on the IT side and on the business side, and you’ve got the end users, you’ve got the people that are going to be using the application when it’s rolled out. Any other groups that any of you would add to that list? Or has your experience kind of been along those same, working with those same types as well? Majid? 27:19 Majid Abai No, basically I believe that you covered all of the teams, I cannot think of any other groups. 27:25 Tom Floyd Okay, great. 29:57 Tom Floyd Where we left off we were talking a little bit about some of the different groups of people that have been in organizations who were impacted or involved in a technology rollout. We talked about executive sponsors, stakeholders, project managers, end users. During the break everyone on the show and I were just talking and some other names that came up were the core project team, the folks actually responsible for making sure the project is a success and then continuing to keep it up and running after the lights have been turned on so to speak and also various business units within the organization as well. Well let’s talk about how a coach can be effective, I’m getting my tongue tied here, effective in working with each of these different groups, and let’s talk with executive sponsors or focus on executive sponsors first. So Jeremy, I’d like to start with you. From your experience how can or how could a coach typically help an executive sponsor during a technology rollout? 13 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 13 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 31:10 Dr. Jeremy For us it really starts right in the beginning Tom and we like to make sure the Lurey executive sponsors before we even get into that coaching opportunity that they understand what’s at stake, that they define their criteria for success right at the beginning of the project. We’ll actually hold an executive alignment workshop with that executive steering committee, the executive working committee, whoever those executive sponsors are we want to make sure they’re all in the room and commit to whatever success is going to be, we’ll actually develop an executive charter for the project so they can go around the room and hear themselves say this is what I’m committed to and this is what I’m willing and able to give to make sure we get there. And then from there moving on over the course of the very long, potentially very long project making sure that we partner with them on a very regular basis not just once a month in executive steering committee but sit down with them and ask them how’s it going, ask them if they have talked to their direct reports, to their end users, for example it could be a CFO. We want to make sure that that person, he or she, is in touch with all of the potential folks in the finance department who may be impacted by the change. 32:23 Tom Floyd And in terms of the involvement that you have with them are these typically one-on- one sessions with the primary executive sponsors? Are they group-facilitated types of sessions? What does that look like? 32:35 Dr. Jeremy It’s often both. Lurey We will try to sit down one-on-one with that executive sponsor, call it the CFO for the moment, make sure that he or she is visibly involved and informed throughout the whole project and doing what they can. We’ll also sit down with him or her and their direct report, make sure that the core finance team, the senior finance team, is there because ultimately it’s not the CFO who’s going to roll out this message day in and day out it’s going to be their direct reports and middle management so we use a cascading effect by not just doing one- on-ones but also doing some of that group facilitation is important too. 33:09 Tom Floyd Got it, and so really kind of using both group sessions and one-on-one sessions as needed to kind of keep them on track. 33:15 Dr. Jeremy Absolutely, absolutely. Lurey 14 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 14 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 33:16 Tom Floyd And how do you hold them accountable to those goals that you’ve defined with them kind of once you’ve set them up front a lot of things can happen on a large-scale rollout, an executive in particular can get distracted by a lot of different things. How do you keep them on target or focused with those goals once they’ve been established? 33:34 Dr. Jeremy I’ve learned over time as a person helping manage the change, providing the Lurey coaching and support, which I’m not in control. Whether I’d like to make decisions or not that’s just not my place. So for me it’s actually just about holding up that flag, keeping people aware, and honest to their commitments, and when priorities change call it for that but if this project is the number one priority for the organization for the next year I’m going to be in their face on a daily or weekly or monthly basis reminding them that it doesn’t feel like this project is being treated as a number one priority, it may have slipped down, and let them decide is that going to be okay or is that not what they were committed to doing. 34:15 Tom Floyd So kind of conveying the information to them and saying I can’t make the decision here for you but you’ve got the power to do this, is this something that matters? 34:22 Dr. Jeremy Correct. Lurey It goes into what I think Susan was referring to before basic project management principles. Part of our role as a coach or as a change consultant is to identify risks and help minimize them wherever possible but we often times can’t make the decision on what to do it’s up to the executive sponsors to decide which actions are appropriate. 34:41 Tom Floyd Got it, absolutely. Majid, what are some of your thoughts? What have some of your experiences been when trying to coach executive sponsors during a technology rollout? 15 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 15 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 34:49 Majid Abai In my opinion the historical aspect has been that IT has been completely separate from business and basically they give us our requirements and we did the work and then we threw it back over the wall at them and say here you go, here is your system. But lately because of coaching a lot of times IT and business are trying to align and I think coaching really, really helps because they’re still stumbling through the process of being one team as part of the same organization. We really have thought of each other as two separate organizations, and I think coaching would help a lot as Jeremy said from very, very top, even from the CIO Organization with all of the business organizations getting them together and helping them understand that they’re really on one team and they must have that level of alignment in order to implement the true rollout of the technology system. 35:58 Tom Floyd So it’s really around a benefit that you see for executive sponsors in this case is that really making sure that folks on the business side and the IT side are on the same page. 36:08 Majid Abai Exactly, continuously. 36:10 Tom Floyd Got it. 36:10 Majid Abai Continuously on the same page. 36:11 Tom Floyd And in terms of some of the goals that you would try to establish or you think would be a good idea to establish on both sides from a business perspective and an IT perspective what would one of those goals be? 36:24 Majid Abai The goals would be that the most important thing should be that success of an IT implementation is basically based on the cooperation of the two teams as such the concept of finger pointing should go away and as I said a concept of teamwork should be brought up. To me that’s the main goal of understanding that if the project fails both groups have failed and they have not been able to take the organization to the next level as should be the true goal of an IT implementation process. 16 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 16 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 37:10 Tom Floyd One other thing that comes up a lot with coaching and that I definitely believe in with coaching is that I think some people can look at coaching as a fix-it solution and not realize that coaching really isn’t a good fix-it intervention it’s more about self realization. When we think about finger pointing have you found that it’s challenging or is it easy to get folks on either the business or the IT side to really self realize you know what I’m blaming other people in this situation and it’s not about them it’s about me and I’ve got the power to fix it or to do something? 37:47 Majid Abai Are you asking me? 37:49 Tom Floyd Yes. 37:50 Majid Abai What I have found really is that we still haven’t gotten out of our historical organizations of IT being completely separate from business. 38:04 Tom Floyd Yeah. 38:04 Majid Abai We have always been a customer-centric organization, and I’m talking about IT where businesses are customers and we are really our own self-contained organization. Where now our business executives, business teams are really technology savvy and we should really want them to come in and as such finger pointing really doesn’t work, and I agree with you we should, coaching will help doing this. We should start self realization of finger pointing is not going to help anybody but teamwork is where we can go to the next level. 38:41 Tom Floyd That’s critical. Now Susan, one of the things that you had mentioned earlier in the show was the importance of expectation management. When you’re working with executive sponsors who do you manage their expectations? 17 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 17 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 38:55 Susan Alvey I actually focus it on how do I help them to manage expectations for the teams that they’re working with or that they’re leading because my focus in coaching executives especially executive sponsors in this kind of a situation is that it’s their job ultimately to build the skills to be able to build relationships and be that kind of team member as Jeremy and Majid had suggested and work across different kinds of functional boundaries that they may have so that they can manage expectations, and one of the things I think about is what is the risk or what are the issues that executive sponsors face? And so they have to think about what those issues are and prepare themselves and take a kind of preventive approach if you will. So for example, one of the downfalls of a technology implementation is when there’s lack of buy-in or there’s political infighting that occurs in the organization that either diminishes the commitment to the effort and sometimes ends it completely, they also have scheduling delays that can then bump into other strategic initiatives, and executives can also face issues of the fingers being pointed at them so the process scope or schedule or budget- 40:31 Tom Floyd Right. 40:31 Susan Alvey No one is aligned with strategic initiatives and so now everyone is pointing at the top technology person and then what they have to do is prevent being defensive about this and so as I say well here’s a lot of issues that executive sponsors face and if they think about this and kind of plan for this in advance they can do it as best they can to prevent it and a lot of the prevention is in the kinds of things Majid was just saying which is what I would call relationship building. Building relationships and understanding and trust with other folks in the organization especially the executive sponsor is usually a high level in the organization and has influence and needs to maintain that influence to help the project succeed, and so the coaching, I may have deterred a little bit from your original question but- 41:23 Tom Floyd No problem. 41:24 Susan Alvey But the coaching can really assist them in understanding how to build these relationships so that they can then themselves facilitate the implementation from the level that they need to facilitate. They can be aware of the influence they need to have in the organization and the behaviors that they have to maintain that influence, to gain and to maintain that influence. 18 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 18 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 41:48 Tom Floyd So if we think about it in terms of competencies, if a coach were, if an executive sponsor were to engage a coach to help them during a large-scale technology rollout one of the things from your experience that you’d recommend then is that really establishing goals or focusing on relationship management and the importance of that. 42:05 Susan Alvey Absolutely. 42:07 Tom Floyd Anything else? Any other, and I’m asking this to the three of you as a group, any other key competencies or skills that a successful executive sponsor or leader should have that you feel a coach should really focus on with them during an IT rollout? 42:20 Susan Alvey Well just to add to relationship building I think part of that probably is communication. 42:25 Tom Floyd Okay. 42:26 Susan Alvey And really being good at communication and sincere and timely communication goes back to managing expectations because that really does help not just to tell the rest of the organization where they’re at in the implementation but to really build buy-in. 42:43 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I’m starting to hear the music for our next break. Just to sum up it was three great competencies listed there; relationship management, expectation management, and communication. When we get back we’ll talk a little bit more about some of those some competencies or ways that coaches can also work with the project managers involved as well so stay tuned everyone. 19 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 19 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 45:18 Tom Floyd Right before we went to break we were talking about how a coach can help the executive sponsors involved on a project and we’re going to change gears a little bit now. Let’s get further down the food chain so to speak and let’s talk about how a coach could be helpful in working with the project managers or the folks running the timeline, making key decisions, making sure that everything is on track on the IT in the business side. So Jeremy let’s start with you kind of with your coaching hat on if an organization was to hire a coach or bring some folks in to really coach their project managers throughout the implementation of an application what are some things that that coach could do that could help and what would be some of the goals that the coach would really work on with those project managers? 46:16 Dr. Jeremy Tom, this is actually where we as a team at Plus Delta kind of focus most of our Lurey energies. It’s not as much at the executive levels it really is at the project managers where I’ll extend this a bit to some of the other core project team leaders. 46:29 Tom Floyd Interesting. 46:30 Dr. Jeremy Whether it’s the person who is tasked with the people side of the change Lurey management or it could be the finance team leader who is in a functional kind of a role. 46:39 Tom Floyd Okay. 20 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 20 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 46:39 Dr. Jeremy And specifically here we refer to this as more of a functional coaching where we are Lurey sharing methodologies around managing the people side of change, helping people understand resistance as we were talking about as a group earlier today, and how to overcome that to develop a positive change strategy with communications and training and so on, so a lot of our coaching tends to be more of what you call functional around what are the end users going through, what does that transition look like, what are some of the specific activities that we can as a team embark on to make sure that we minimize resistance and increase user acceptance by the time we do go live. One of the other key areas where we focus our coaching is around project team effectiveness. Our entire methodology is not framed around the end user with most other coaches or consultants we actually focus a lot of our energy around the core project team who is responsible for making this technology change a success. So we’ll partner with our project managers to do team performance surveys, understand where there may be some gaps, we’ll even do some group workshops around giving feedback or setting goals and so on to make sure that our core project team is cohesive and performing at peak levels throughout the life of the project. 47:58 Tom Floyd And are a lot of these sessions with the project team and with the project managers is it one-on-one sessions? Is it mainly group sessions? Is it a combination of both? 48:06 Dr. Jeremy Again, our approach is both as I was mentioning with executive sponsors. Lurey We’ll work one-on-one with the project manager hopefully sitting in that program manager in office side-by-side with them, and say here’s what we’re seeing, here’s what we recommend doing about it. 48:19 Tom Floyd Right. 48:20 Dr. Jeremy Ask them how are you doing, what are you experiencing, where can we help you, Lurey and then also extending that in a group level to all of the team leads for example and making sure that they are getting the benefit of that same information. 21 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 21 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 48:32 Tom Floyd Got it. Now Susan, one of the things we were talking about with executive sponsors was the different competencies, you had mentioned communications being particularly important and relationship management. With your coaching hat on when you’re coaching project managers involved in the implementation what are some of the competencies that you try to focus on with them or skills that you really try to help them hone during the rollout? 48:54 Susan Alvey I think it’s similar but usually more specific to specific levels of the project that they are working on but it’s a lot of communication skills; listening, clarifying expectations, facilitating, how to facilitate because they’re usually leading a group meeting and they’ve got to facilitate that so that the mission is accomplished if you will of each team, of each team session, and they manage to handle the disparity of viewpoints that may be around the table. Another skill is being able to articulate positions of decisions that are made or directions that the team is going on and what they’re doing and what they’re not doing, articulating positions includes here’s what the scope is not. But I also think another important one is managing conflicts because conflict will derail the team meeting, it will derail the team, it will derail the project, and it often falls on the team leader or the project manager to be able to manage that conflict, and to do it in such a way that they remain objective and can focus on process of managing the conflict as opposed to getting ensnared in one side or the other of the conflict. 50:16 Tom Floyd So for example if you were talking about maybe a one-on-one coaching instance that you were having with a project manager and there was a conflict that they already knew about or were aware of would you see yourself or a coach working with them and saying okay let’s kind of focus on how you can remain objective during that. 50:33 Susan Alvey Exactly, what specific things? It might come down to how to script them, developing a script that they can use under situations like that to really help them. Give them something to lean on when the time comes. 50:46 Tom Floyd Got it. Majid, what are some of your thoughts? What’s been some of your experience and things that have come up when you’ve coached the project managers during a rollout? 22 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 22 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 50:57 Majid Abai The part that I just enjoyed was what Susan just said. An important concept is managing conflict because that often we’ve seen that happen. The second part is that making project managers on both sides understand that as implementations, technology implementations are rolling out business does not stop so understanding that end users, people who are going to do the actual work they really need to learn the new technology and still get their normal day-to-day work done. 51:43 Tom Floyd Got it. 51:43 Majid Abai And as such allocate more time within the project for such transition. Usually this transition is done very, very rapidly not leaving enough time for training and actual getting used to the system and a coach would be able to help project managers overcome that deficit. 52:05 Tom Floyd So really focusing on transitioning as a skill and the importance of that and how to handle that effectively. 52:11 Majid Abai Correct. 52:12 Tom Floyd Okay. Well we are almost towards the end of our show and really the last question that I would ask the three of you is kind of in 30 seconds or less and I’ll go around to each of you, if you really had to make the case kind of in summary or in closing of how coaching can be helpful during a large technology rollout what would the things be that you would leave our listeners with today? Jeremy, let’s start with you. 23 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 23 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 52:40 Dr. Jeremy I may take a different tactic on this one Tom than others will but for me I’m not sure Lurey that one executive coach is the end all be all in a large-scale technology project and part of what we try to do is instill a sense of coaching or create a coaching culture within our client organization and specifically that core project team to make sure that we’ll implement an adoptive sponsor program so that we filter the coaching to the team leads and people most informed about the business so that the coaching goes on not just with us. I mean especially in a virtual environment where you’ve got teams distributed across the country or even the world. 53:15 Tom Floyd So really creating a culture for coaching is the key takeaway. 53:18 Dr. Jeremy Absolutely, and keep that front of mind for everyone. Lurey 53:21 Tom Floyd Okay, Susan what about you? What would be the last point you’d make? 53:24 Susan Alvey Yeah, I certainly would agree with what Jeremy said. I like to focus those people on the behaviors at whatever level they execute and the impacts that those behaviors have because that’s what in coaching anyone one-on- one that’s what they have control over or can have control over is what their behaviors are and what results from that, and I would include in that behavior especially at higher levels the behaviors that they have for coaching their own people. 53:52 Tom Floyd Got it. So really focusing on behaviors and creating a culture for coaching. Well a huge thank you to all three of you for being on the show today and as always a huge thank you to our guests and listeners as well for spending time with us today. For more information about the show you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel. You can visit our website at, and you can feel free to e-mail me at as well. Don’t forget you can access us through Apple iTunes as well, just go to the Music Store and enter Insight on Coaching and you can listen to the podcast version of our show as well. Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week. 24 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 24 Successful Technology Implementations Transcript