Does Luck Determine Implementation Success?

In honor of St. Patrick – I want to discuss the topic of luck – more specifically, luck in the Service Management world. According to Merriam Webster, luck is defined as “the things that happen to a person because of chance: the accidental way things happen without being planned.” With that in mind, I am left to wonder, can we leave our Service Management implementation in the hands of luck and fate? I would argue that the clear answer should be no.

When making purchasing decisions on what tools to buy, we make very deliberate and careful decisions, taking all necessary steps to ensure that we are spending our dollars wisely, and buying the best product to fit our organization’s needs. However, too many organizations do not follow the necessary steps to implement the tool effectively, essentially leaving the fate of its ability to function in the hands of luck – hoping the tool will “just work”. This leads to countless failed implementations and frustration across the organization. By leaving implementations in the hands of luck, we sometimes misdiagnose the problem, suggesting that the problem is the product we purchased, rather than recognizing our misguided implementation of the tool as the core issue.

So, how can we take matters into our own hands and ensure successful implementation? Let’s start with an assessment of the organization, typically through a Current State Analysis. Without understanding our current environment, it will be very difficult to move forward. The Current State Analysis helps us to understand organizational readiness, to assess process capability, and review the tool landscape and utilization.

Once we have a good understanding of where we are at, we can begin to build a roadmap to align the strategy for IT with the overall organizational needs and plans. By bridging the gap between IT and the business, we can ensure that the tool is designed to fit customer needs and aligned with management expectations, enabling IT to present its value to the business and customers. A few questions to begin with include:

  • Who is our customer?
  • What does our customer value?
  • Why are our services valuable to them?
  • How do our customers use our services?

Once we have designed a roadmap, we can then begin to build an adoption plan that can be repeated. The next steps to include consist of: strategy development, value proposition, delivery mechanisms, testimonials, organizational alignment, and training. We all recognize that a cultural shift is required, and by laying out a comprehensive adoption plan, we can increase our chances of implementing a successful change.

As we can see, there are a few clear steps we can take to ensure successful implementation. Remember, leaving our implementations in the hands of luck only provides a CHANCE for the organization to succeed.