Sponsors tend to think of the changes they launch in monolithic terms – one size fits all. In reality though, nothing could be further from the truth. The number of physical locations and unique perspectives and needs involved in developing and using a solution and affected by solution delivery can have a significant impact on costs, pose incremental risks to a project and, ultimately, decide the success or failure of an endeavour.
Typically, a major business or technology change will need to address a variety of different locations and perspectives. Identifying the variety of locations and perspectives and the common and unique characteristics of each is absolutely essential for managing the impact of the change successfully over time. The sooner the sponsor and the project team understand and address the location and perspective challenges and develop approaches to leverage the opportunities and minimize the costs and risks, the better.
A couple of examples: a U.K. mapping application introduced to manage properties failed when it was realized that many rural customers only had access to dial-up internet services which lacked the capacity and speed for the app to work properly; a voice recognition system stumbled badly when it encountered customer accents in the U.S. deep south. Fortunately, in the latter example, the problem was encountered in a regional pilot and the system was adjusted accordingly.
From a location standpoint, consider what jurisdictions and physical and virtual sites your target solution will be delivered to and used in:
- In different countries, states, provinces and municipalities,
- At various client, partner and supplier sites,
- At head offices, branch offices, home offices, homes, in vehicles, at remote locations,
- With differing kinds and levels of technology (e.g. kiosks, PC’s, mobile devices, browsers), internet access, power availability and physical security,
- Any other location factors (e.g. construction sites, marine environments, factory settings) that may influence the successful adoption and use of your planned change.
From a perspective standpoint, consider who will be delivering, installing, instructing on and using your planned solution, including:
- Ages (e.g. seniors, millennials, toddlers),
- Capabilities (e.g. physical and mental abilities and impairments, languages),
- Local accents, expressions and idioms,
- Cultural norms and biases, statutory and religious celebrations and holidays,
- Any other perspective factors that may influence the successful adoption and use of your planned change.
Use the Decision Framework above to determine the development, delivery, operational and support impacts and create your plans accordingly. Use a spreadsheet or check list with the rows for Framework domains, factors and decision areas and columns for the development, delivery, operational and support stages. Identify the factors and decision areas that will be affected by your project and note the nature of the impact, by location and perspective.
For example, if your organization is entering a new market with a new product, you might want to consider integrating some elements of your organizational mission, vision and core values into the launch and support processes to help your new prospects and customers get to know you a little better and be a bit more receptive to your promotions and products.
To carry that example forward, you’d want to consider the implementation and operational impacts and needs of that new product in its new market on the design of the change itself and all the factors and decision areas in the Change domain. Ditto for the Assets, Environment and Projects domains, factors and decision areas.
Solicit input and review the assessment widely with stakeholders and with those who have expertise in the new and similar markets and with the new and similar products. Identified potential impacts and opportunities can be included in the plan and fleshed out over the course of the project. In most cases, the exercise will add an hour or two per stakeholder to the initiation and planning stages. That’s actually a great investment of time and talent to reap the subsequent rewards and mitigate the avoided risks.