Lessons learned after resistance to change scuppers project’s rollout
Our client insures around 90 per cent of public and private sector workers in the state, including more than 310,000 NSW businesses as well as government agencies. In 2017, it announced changes to the way government agencies could make declarations to the Treasury Managed Fund, a self-insurance scheme created by the NSW government, with the process moving online. The move aimed to eliminate the adversarial process of the declaration and improve the experience, reduce processing times, make for more accurate calculations and, for the first time, have complete and accurate data for the whole NSW Government Asset Portfolio.
The company engaged Blue Seed Consulting to provide change services while the digital solution was implemented, touching more than 193 government agencies. The project involved working closely with the Vendor, Project Team and Client Engagement Managers in the business to develop a detailed training approach to ensure users likely to be affected would be engaged before it was rolled out. The approach was to align business leaders and create an implementation plan that the steering committee supported. With the declaration ‘window’ due to open in 12 weeks, Blue Seed analysed and worked collaboratively with internal teams to develop a vision and plan to deliver and coordinate training activities, including a pilot of the rollout, identify and manage risks and ensure alignment of communications. As the program’s priorities shifted, our team were able to be flexible and agile, continuing to refine the approach and delivery in iterations. As is always the case, one of the biggest challenges was aligning key stakeholders and keeping them aligned when representatives within the steering and project group changed. In an environment that was changing rapidly the additional challenges of a lengthy provisioning process and an inability to change user details caused frustration, not only with the end user but with stakeholders and the team. Further complication was the resignation of the training lead shortly before the first training session, so Blue Seed stepped up to deliver a revised training approach and continued to track and course correct across all change aspects.
Our consultant developed a robust change and training approach that was approved by the steering committee, but some members were not completely aligned given the change in sponsorship, uncertainty in the performance of the system and mixed understanding of the core process. Subsequently, their respective teams weren’t allocated sufficient resources to be involved in the planning and information gathering phases – it also meant vital communications weren’t sent early enough, leaving some users unaware of the upcoming changes. Furthermore, the mixed decision-making about the timeline ‘window’ for completing the process with the new system and process, effectively halved the normal amount of time agencies had to complete their declarations. Contingency activities were haphazard, and the training approach had to be amended significantly to be faster and less targeted, which of course led to frustration all around. The impact on the customer resulted in escalation to the CEO, with an internal audit of the project being conducted. Blue Seed conducted a survey and workshop on the lessons learned with the project team and business team to ensure collective learning and improvement plans could be developed. We were engaged further to engineer an approach to support the project’s second phase, providing a pathway for rolling out future changes and enhancements to the declaration customer experience, which were agreed and delivered. Read about how to positively lead a change culture here.