5 Takeaways from Digital Change Projects
Roland Rust | Solution Architect, Digital Transformation Visionary
When a traditional business is undergoing #DigitalTransformation, “Digital Change” projects can be seen as the ‘baby steps’ along the transformation path.
For example, when emerging online advertising and publishing business grew massively around 2012/13, the disrupting effect to their business could not longer be ignored by traditional print publishing. The TIME Magazine realised that the era of print magazines was over (others didn’t).
Time transformed into a media company. Along that transformation, they built an online archive of their content in 2009. They developed an online content strategy in 2014. They started to acquire successful online media companies. And their digital transformation is still in progress (more on that, see link below).
These are my personal top 5 takeaways from quite a number of #DigitalChange projects, whether they were set up in the context of a thought out digital transformation strategy or not.
Some people confuse digital change and digital transformation with “going paperless”. Even if an organisation is hopelessly antiquated it should be fairly easy to convince the management, that creating electronic versions of their paper forms is a bit 90ties.
Good news is that you are on the right track. You’re just not there. Discuss how the use of tablets and smartphones has changed their life beyond work. Chances are good that there is no need for forms at all.
After evaluating the results of innovation workshops often the shiniest idea is chosen. Not the one with the most impact. Or at least some low hanging fruit. Why? Because the executive board wants to see something “impressive”.
Making the not-so-shiny impressive is what great designers can help you with. Show how that initial project directs towards the digital future. How the first project will become the cornerstone for all the other ideas.
Keep it small & simple
Many projects I have been involved with grew massive in scope. Even if they were starting as something tiny. Why? As soon as it was communicated throughout the organisation that there was something ‘digital’ going on, everyone wanted to be part of it and had something to ‘contribute’.
That’s stakeholder management. A fulltime job in my opinion. Every digital change project is a delicate shoot in the beginning. Protect it. Say no. As often and polite as you can.
Transform the team
Some projects, especially if they appear to be successful also grow in team size. The reason is quite similar to takeaway number 3. Except for those cases where someone of the highest echelon sends spies to infiltrate the team with nothing to contribute.
Only add people to the project in order bring in valuable expertise. Always consider to let some go. Not everyone can bring in value at every stage of your project.
Implement as soon as possible
A lot of projects are highly acclaimed early on and get stuck at a later stage. This is closely related to takeaway 3 and 4: With the number of supporters, the number of critics, even haters also rises.
It may sound strange, but I would recommend to not promote the project to heavy until the first pilot implementation. Why? Because it is better to have something ‘real’ before the opposing forces realise what’s going on.
Even if you are not in charge, you should keep a close eye on scope, team and implementation progress.
What about your takeaways?