The status quo

Change is usually accompanied by a heap of uncertainty. We don’t like uncertainty and in the absence of any good structure we will cling to what we know. This, in most cases, happens to be the status quo.”
Dr Jason Fox
. in his book, “The Game Changer.”

As OSS implementers, we are the change agents for an organisation, which means we are responsible for change and in charge of the change (although it sometimes feels like being as much in charge as a bull-rider is in charge of a bucking bull).

But how often do we spare a thought for all those poor, unfortunate people who are having change thrust upon them by our OSS projects? Why aren’t they as excited as we are about these fabulous new tools we’re implementing for them?

Two words – uncertainty and unfamiliarity. If you combine those two words with “production” (as in the PROD or live working OSS environment) then there is often outright fear. As the implementer those words are meaningless to you. You are familiar with the solution and certain about why it’s been set up that way.

As change agents, we are responsible for change management. That involves overcoming the customer’s uncertainty and unfamiliarity in a protected environment (eg sand-pit). This coaching must be inclusive of all who will use the tools – designers, planners, business analysts, operators, IT support, etc. They will all have a new mode of operation and sometimes even a new way of thinking after the introduction of your fantastic new OSS. Designs are done differently. Planning is done differently. IT support is done differently.

Many will try to revert to the status quo so as change agents you must:

  • Have an understanding of the way each role used to operate
  • Have an understanding of how each role will be able to deliver with the new tools
  • Be able to coach each role through the transition between the two previous dot-points
  • Provide empathy for the upheaval they’re undergoing

Looking back with a critical lens, I know I have failed on the final dot-point. I have failed to grasp the level of fear, uncertainty and unfamiliarity that customers have felt on past projects because I haven’t felt any of those fears.

I’m sure that many other OSS implementers have failed in this regard too. Have you?

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