Near the beginning of my career, whilst a consultant at Accenture, I worked as part of a business readiness team for a large multi-million $ project and I have never forgot the lessons I learned. What is business readiness, you ask?

Business readiness can simply be described as the plan for how to manage change within an organisation. More simply, ‘readying the business for change’. To me this is really all about how people handle change. Business readiness activities include:

  • Managing and understanding the overall timeline and scope
  • Stakeholder management
  • Business roll-out and training plan (including train the trainer)
  • Communications (constant and regular) – what’s coming, what’s changing, what’s happened, what’s changed

Failure to consider how people will (or will not) adapt to change I feel is the number one reason initiatives and projects fail. This goes equally for tiny Salesforce changes and large complex projects. These principles should be applied every single time you think about changing something in your organisation.

Project Timeline and Scope

Everything that could potential delay or accelerate the project is very relevant to business readiness. Many times a project manager is often also in charge of business readiness, so this is easy. If not and there is a separate PMO its very important that any changes are managed and messaged with any training being altered as necessary.

Stakeholder Management

Every change has people who support and driving change, people will be affected and people who will challenge the change. Having regular honest conversations with key stakeholder before and throughout the project is critical to maintain support and head off any issues early on.

Business Training Plan

The plan to train the business can really vary depending on how large the initiative is.

I have included some examples of what a business readiness plan might look like for changes of different scale which also highlights some training and messaging suggestions. Please note ALL changes should have business readiness activities, no matter how informal.

Here is a very brief example of some business readiness activities:

Small changes (SFDC pick list changes, new fields)

  • A few weeks before
    • Ensure the roadmap is clear
    • Introduce and provide demos/screenshots to relevant support teams such as power users, sales operations, sales support
  • At go live
    • Message your audience about the change
    • Update any training materials or data governance manuals
    • If necessary, often a monthly release training makes sense
      • Provide options for live training (in person or via web conference) – provide 2-3w notice
      • And/or host a recorded session on your content management platform for sales
  • After
    • Re-message in a monthly newsletter aimed at sales including any FAQs

Moderate changes (process changes, new but intuitive functionality)

  • Before changes are architected
    • Engage stakeholders through road-mapping discussions
  • A few weeks before
    • Introduce and provide demos/screenshots to BOTH support teams as well as functional users for any last minute comments or questions – this could mean power users, sales operations, sales support
    • If necessary, hold a more formal user acceptance test (UAT)
  • A few days before
    • Remind your audience that changes are coming in the next few days
    • If something requires their action before the change give them at LEAST a week
  • At release
    • E-mail your audience about the change
    • Update any training materials or data governance manuals
  • One week before – host training (send invites 2-3 weeks in advance)
    • Provide options for live training (in person or via web conference)
    • And/or post a recorded session on your content management platform for sales
  • After go-live
    • Message in a monthly newsletter aimed at sales
  • Months after
    • Track major statistics of adoption and behavioural shifts
    • Capture common questions for support and message/retrain/enforce as necessary

Large systematic changes (new systems, new sales methodology)

  • Project initiation – buy-in
    • Interview a broad variety of stakeholders at length about their expectations
    • Identify some project champions – these could be users, support personnel or other more junior evangelists
  • Through out the project
    • Provide regular updates to your senior and junior stakeholders
  • 2-3 months before
    • Hold some high level information sharing sessions and hopefully get them excited about productivity changes coming
    • Talk in your newsletter about upcoming changes
    • Share information about the upcoming project through any channel you can – intranet, managerial meetings, company blogs, etc
  • 1-2 months before
    • Host a more formal UAT with users or a final POC demo of the proposed solution
  • A few weeks before
    • Host a train the trainer session for both your evangelists, support personnel and trainers
  • One week before – host training (send invites 2-3 weeks in advance)
    • Provide training – delivered by project team or designated trainers
    • Record sessions for on demand and new hire training, if applicable
  • A few days before
    • Remind your audience that changes are coming in the next few days
    • If something requires their action before the change give them at LEAST a week
  • At release
    • Message your audience about the change – through every channel – if at this point the sentiment is YES, we know, then you’ve done your job
    • Update any training materials or data governance manual
  • After go-live
    • Provide extended support through trainers, support team and project team
    • Message in a monthly newsletter aimed at sales
  • Months after
    • Track major statistics of adoption and behavioural shifts
    • Capture common questions for support and message/retrain/enforce as necessary

Communications

As you can tell from the training plan above there’s a huge amount of opportunity for communication which mostly fall into the following categories including:

  • Awareness
  • Documentation
  • Training
  • KPI/success metrics
  • FAQs/support

When it comes to business readiness, there is no such thing as over communication. When you consider some of your communications will be missed by busy professionals its essential to continuously get your message out.

If you are thinking about a project or would like help reviewing (or creating) a business readiness plan for your initiative, please contact Sales Ops Help.

Does Your Organisation Always Manage Business Readiness Well?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.