Babies and software implementations? Why would anyone ever compare the two? Well, my wife and I recently had the privilege of welcoming a new baby girl to the world (see attached pic - I’m a bit biased, but I think she’s pretty darn cute!), and there are plenty of new changes going on around my household. Raising a newborn is an amazing experience - humbling, challenging, rewarding, and incredibly joyful all at the same time.
As I’ve pondered the last couple months, I’ve realized that at less than three months old, my daughter has already reinforced a few great lessons and connections to successful software implementations. I’ve been fortunate to be in health care for over the last decade and have been involved in software implementations for thousands of physicians. I thoroughly enjoy the implementations because each is different and there’s always more I can learn to help make that process easier for the end-user and customer.
Three lessons your newborn can reinforce about managing successful software implementations:
1. One size does NOT fit all. Our daughter is growing and changing with every day, which is fun because we have other friends with newborns and toddlers around the same age. I’ve also learned that you don’t compare babies, period. End of story. They aren’t the same and they won’t reach the same milestones at the same times. Each one of the software implementations I’ve been a part of are different as well. Sure, there are trends and similarities. However, if you want to lead a successful software implementation, you need to first recognize that each organization, practice, and person comes with their own opinions, perspectives, comfort with change, and interest level. Leverage your experience and knowledge, but you must embrace that each person and training is unique. This will allow you to help coach them through the changes and address any potential issues.
2. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. At about three weeks, my wife and I decided to venture out of the house and walk to dinner at a local restaurant with our new baby girl in the stroller. Shortly into the dinner, we realized that our daughter had a significant blowout (parents - you know what I’m talking about). I looked at my wife, and we both asked, “Did you bring any diapers or a change of clothes?” Of course, we had not. Rookie parents. Obviously, we hadn’t thought that one through, but we won’t make that mistake again. Likewise, implementations are set up for success long in advance of go-live. Experience will prepare you for common objections and problems that could arise during an implementation. If you don’t have the experience, ask someone within your organization for help. Double and triple check your work and setup ahead of the go-live. First impressions are important and you shouldn’t be wasting your client's time with errors, mistakes, or challenges that could have been anticipated and prevented in advance. When surprises do happen, and they will, be sure to follow through on any follow-up action items you promised to the customer.
3. Two is greater than one. Parenting a newborn can be exhausting. With the lack of sleep and “always on” mentality for 24 hours a day, I find myself, at times, going a bit delirious and definitely not on my “A” game. Thankfully, I've got an amazing wife who is doing a great job supporting both me and our daughter through this transition. Due to my work schedule I'm not around throughout the day to help with the caretaking, but I try to jump back in to relieve her as soon as I get home. This affords us the balance we need to function at our best. With software implementations, there are two critical parties: the vendor and the customer. Both sides need to be working as a team ahead of the implementation. The vendor and trainers should establish a good relationship with a team at the customer site; these people can help be the eyes on the ground, even after the implementation is complete and the vendors have gone home. Schedule regular follow-up meetings after the go-live. Change is often hard, but it's much easier when you're working together as a team to make the process as smooth as possible for all parties!