Overcoming restistance to change

Inspiration is much more likely to develop from the habit of consistently paying attention to life’s small moments.”
Robert Maurer
, from his book, “The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time.”

As we all know, OSS projects are a combination of people, process and technology. However, since most of us OSS implementers are technologists at heart, we have a tendency to focus on the technology and sometimes we get around to defining the processes that help to drive the technology. Unfortunately, we tend to spend less time focusing on the people side of an OSS project.

For many OSS transformations, change management is an afterthought, often an expensive afterthought.

Two of the biggest challenges we deal with on OSS transformations is resistance to change and reaching binding decisions.

If you have a look at previous articles under the change management category or innovation, you’ll notice that I sometimes take the “big-bang” approach to change management.

Whilst reading Robert Maurer’s book (see quote above), I’ve been fascinated by the case studies where significant change has stemmed from seemingly inconsequential variations to standard practice. One example is “UPS engineers recognized that left-hand turns are costly to the company; trucks have to idle longer at intersections, consuming extra fuel and taking up precious time. The engineers edited their GPS software to reduce left-hand turns. UPS has estimated that in one year, this change saved 28.5 million miles off their usual routes and saved 3 million gallons of gas. And within five months of the change, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by more than a thousand metric tons in New York City alone.”

Rather than starting an OSS transformation with massive changes in mind, changes that will cause many employees to start shaking with fear, Maurer suggests a small steps approach. I’d definitely recommend a read of his book to see what inspiration you can find in his wealth of small suggestions.


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