Make Clear From the Start What a New System CANNOT Do

When implementing a new system in a project it is as important to clarify for end users what the system CANNOT do as much as what it can do.
A few years back, Erik was involved in a project to implement an upgraded back-office and conference management system for a hotel. The legacy system that needed to be upgraded had been in place for several years and was used on a daily basis by staff (end users). The new system that was selected on the project not only had new functionality but also left behind a few things with the old system.
In other words, in the old system if you could do a certain amount of things, x of these were taken care of by the new system but the other n functions were no longer available in the new system. The new system also had m new things it could do as per the image below.

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The lesson learned here was that even though the five functions that were left behind were redundant and were actually a waste of time, it was not explained to the end users that this was going to happen. This ended up causing staff anxiety and angst and disrupted intial training sessions which cost both time and money as the project team was forced to go back to the drawing board with the approach to training.


This situation is a great example of how losing something can be a more powerful emotion than gaining something, how end users are affected most by project outcomes, and of course that people need to be made aware from the start what a new system CANNOT (or can no longer) do.


Manage expectations effectively!