Resistance Is Not Futile, Part 27 Sep, 2006 By: Jim White
By sharing and rewarding progress, you can ease your PLM implementation.
Last month I described the various forms of resistance that you might encounter when implementing a PLM (product lifecycle management) system. Autodesk has worked with many companies to implement PLM solutions, and the common types of resistance we hear about come from the IT (information technology) department as well as from business owners. Executive-level commitment is a crucial step toward company-wide support for the new PLM system, and last month's column gave some pointers for establishing an executive champion who can tie the PLM solution to big-picture business goals and rally support.
This month's column builds on that foundation with pointers to make your implementation a success once you overcome organizational resistance.
Share Progress and Successes Along the Way
Once you have the commitment of your key executive, IT and business players, make everyone in the company aware of the progress of your deployment. Never underestimate the power of visual reminders: Display the project steps on large posters in the cafeteria. Show graphs of how many people or how many departments are using the new system. Share success stories of how the PLM solution helped the company land a new client or win a highly competitive bid.
Communicating the progress of the deployment and its early, positive impact on business goals helps keep everyone engaged and interested in the PLM solution -- and helps motivate adoption.
Rewarding the teams involved in implementing the system also is an effective method. Once your PLM solution is ready to go enterprise-wide, consider creating highly visible rewards at the individual, workgroup and company level. Create small incentives for each person to complete his or her training. Foster competition between workgroups to see which one can get the most people trained on the system first. Generate buzz about a company-wide reward when everyone is live on the new system.
These rewards create enthusiasm and visibility for the project. They also help foster a collective commitment toward the larger goals laid out by the executive champion. Those who choose not to participate in the project will find themselves isolated and challenged to communicate effectively with those using the solution. The momentum generated by effective communications and tangible rewards will persuade even the most reluctant employees.
Learn from Resistance
It would be so much easier if you could select, deploy and use PLM solutions in a bubble. But reality dictates that you work with a wide variety of people, all of whom have their own personal and departmental objectives.
By listening to IT resistance, you can learn how to best implement your PLM solution within your company's current infrastructure. Listening to business resistance means that you gain the accumulated knowledge of area experts. Early communication and sincere appreciation for input from both areas can earn you the support of valuable partners in your efforts to deploy a PLM solution successfully.
Resistance is not futile. It's usually a legitimate concern you can leverage to your advantage.