“The honeymoon is over.” Isn’t that what we say when something that was once shiny and exciting becomes dull and stale? Marriages, new cars, vendor relationships, and yes, even software products have a honeymoon period. And when the honeymoon is over, no one is really happy.
In our relationships, we take steps to keep the honeymoon alive. But when it comes to technology, we tend to accept eventual decay and disappointment as the norm. But what if you could take a few simple steps to keep things fresh? What if your software could remain functional and high-performing for years?
Here’s the good news: It can. If your software provider is committed to keeping the product up to date and delivering new and valuable features, then your software implementation really should stand the test of time. But here’s the kicker: You have to take advantage of what’s available to you. Those new features from your vendor won’t do much good if you don’t incorporate them into your work. And when your team and processes evolve (as they always will), your software may need some fresh configuration to adapt to your changing needs.
If you and your software vendor are both committed to maintaining the “honeymoon period,” you can keep your implementation fresh with a few simple strategies. Take it from GRC Consultant Dan Plato, who specializes in helping companies improve and sustain business processes (and supporting technologies) over time. In an E-Book that Dan and I recently co-authored called “Smart, Rapid Solution Design,” he shared the following ideas:
When you first implemented the software, you defined what success “looks like.” Now, take your definitions of success and determine specific measures for tracking progress. On a quarterly basis, present those success measures to your team on a simple 1-page slide. This allows the team to see how the software is performing based on the goals you collectively defined. The value scorecard also keeps people in the mindset of, “We’re not finished. We’re going to continuously improve.”
Here’s an example:
Also on a quarterly basis, send a survey to your team, asking for their feedback and enhancement ideas. (If your platform offers built-in survey functionality, why not use it?) We recommend that you survey those individuals who had a hand in the software implementation process. This is a great way to gather new ideas and identify issues that may be very easily corrected.
User Group Sessions
When rolling out new software enhancements, give people an opportunity to join a live session to preview what’s coming and provide their feedback. You can extend these sessions to anyone who is actively using the solution. Again, this is a great way to keep people engaged and gather insights from those who work with the technology day-to-day.
Over time, your stakeholders will change. New people will bring fresh ideas and different perspectives. Because your team will evolve, it’s essential to have a role for one or more “solution champions” who will be responsible for enhancements. These are the people who will continue to gather feedback, vet new ideas, and spearhead future design and implementation processes.
If you’re implementing new software, struggling with product decay or thinking about making a change, I encourage you to download the E-Book: Smart, Rapid Solution Design. You’ll learn how to: