Implementing a service management solution within a customer environment is an easy task. Install the software, tell the customer to use it according to ITIL, import some employees, CI’s and Services and Bob’s your uncle. Nothing to it.
Alright, alright; it’s slightly more complex than that. You’ll have to try and gain insight into the processes that are in place, you’ll have to discuss the requirements and wishes of the customer and flawlessly translate them to the set up of the tool, you’ll have to train the user community and you’ll have to communicate with all of the stakeholders in the organization throughout the implementation process.
So, assuming you went through all these steps and made no major mistakes along the way; is success guaranteed? Unfortunately, no. Some of these projects will end in partial success at best and will live uneventful lives.
What then is the key to success? Tough question. It’s really a combination of knowledge, experience, patience, determination and, for a part at least, sheer luck. Let me focus on the latter, because the first four are obvious. To what extent does luck play a role?
Luck, or positive circumstances beyond our control, can make the difference between a project ending in success and a project just ending. Let me illustrate this with an example from a recent implementation I did at one of the biggest insurance companies in The Netherlands.
Due to circumstances, I was lucky enough to be involved in an implementation project for the Insurer for the fourth time in 13 years (or so). The previous three projects had all ended with a mild success; nothing fancy, just okay. This last project was somewhat different than the previous three, because this time it wasn’t a merger or an upgrade but a whole new implementation of Service Desk 4.5, SSP, Report Manager, Change Calendar and Service Desk Monitor. Why? Because 4 years ago the Insurer outsourced their IT department and switched over to ServiceCenter.
Now, the outsourcing contract had been terminated and a renewed Service Desk implementation was required. Enter Westbury. The luck factor starts here. Literally no-one within the Insurer had been satisfied with ServiceCenter and its functionality (due to the outsourcer’s implementation mainly, not due to the tool itself). The way this works psychologically is that you start to remember the good old days, when streets were paved with gold and the sky was all pink and fluffy. Their good old days were the Service Desk days. And now it was back. Praise Jesus.
This feeling, shared by most in the project group(s), meant that there was an enormous sense of positivity with everyone and a real drive to make the project a success. This really started off a chain reaction. Because everyone was positive, they were very flexible in accepting the limitations of the project and the tools, and because they were flexible we were able to move forward within the projected time frame and within the projected budget. This in turn lead to more positivity.
Added to that was a project manager who played a very active role in the project and really fought like a lion to get everyone on the same page and protect the scope of the project. Also lucky because you can never choose your project manager.
The result of all this: A project that ended on time within budget and with a happy customer. And with an additional project and the purchase of 50 additional Service Desk users. And with this blog entry.
Is there a way to influence this luck factor? Yes, maybe. By making sure the customer is aware of this factor and by driving home the notion that enthusiasm for the tool implementation as well as a very active and dedicated Project Manager are just as important as the other factors that determine the outcome of a project. Still, the luck factor cannot be overlooked. Hopefully you are lucky enough to find it on your path.