Only three people stand between you and the success of your IT project: the decision maker, the key user, and the objecting user. In this post we focus on the objecting user.
This was our first meeting. A small team of financial managers took the time to come to the meeting room on the fourth floor. After a number of minutes of getting to know one another, ordering hot drinks, and eating refreshments, we started to discuss the issue of the financial reports production. The presentation of the topic went well, but the tension in the air could be felt.
The moment I turned to the participants and asked their opinion, one of the participants began to attack me. This attack included a collection of arguments against the software solution that was raised during the meeting. She was fluent, and it was clear that she had done her homework for the meeting.
At that moment I understood that I was facing the challenge of the objecting user.
Who is the objecting user?
The objecting user is a user with a personal fear. He can belong to any level of the organization or hold any position in the organization. The integration of an ERP system influences the everyday life of the users and requires them to invest additional resources.
The change awakens a personal worry. The worry can be expressed in fears such as loss of the job, loss of the ability to perform the job or decline in output, failure in learning the new system, failure of the system to support the job, and fear of the exposure of work processes to others in the organization.
How is it possible to identify the objecting user?
The worry awakens objections to the system assimilation. It is possible to identify the objecting user already in the first stages of the project. The objection can be expressed in negative comments about the process, non-disclosure of important information, non-attendance of meetings, agitation of other users against the system, reinforcement of the solution weaknesses versus the existing situation, and so on.
The reasons for the objection are diverse and differ from one person to another.
What is important to achieve after the identification of the objecting user in the organization?
The objections may significantly harm the project success.
It is very important to manage and address the objections and keep them on a low burner. For the success of the project, it is critical to understand the objecting user and to provide a solution for his needs and support throughout the project. Sometimes the objecting user becomes the most enthusiastic supporter.
What can be done?
The following list presents suggestions that can help neutralize the objections:
- To raise the understanding of the management and decision makers of the importance of the treatment of objections.
- To invest additional effort in listening and understanding the worries of these users.
- To identify a solution to the worries using additional conversations, close support, adjustment of the process that will be implemented, adjustment of the existing solution in the system, or performance of a change in the system even if this entails additional time and money.
By the way, the same user presented at the start of the post became the key user who leads the project. Without her I would not have succeeded in implementing the solution in the organization.