Like death and taxes, change is simply inevitable. Just about every company out there, no matter the industry, needs to accept this fact or find itself out of business in short order. As customer demands and the competition shift, organizations need to be prepared to pivot and adapt as necessary. That is one truth that is unlikely to change anytime soon. There’s a reason that the quality assurance metrics most commonly used in software development testing have changed so much over the past decade, for example.
But while change is inevitable, how organizations go about changing can vary greatly. Some are able to do it properly, while others find themselves failing miserably in their transition. To use another software development analogy, why do some teams jump at the opportunity to leverage cloud test management tools, while others cling to QA metrics that haven’t made sense since 1992?
The reason is because while it’s often necessary, change is hard. But, by following these four steps, business leaders can ensure that change happens relatively painlessly:
1) Thoroughly explain the value of the change
This is critical, as without a thorough understanding as to why change is happening and what the benefits of the change are going to be, stakeholders both within and outside the organization are not going to be on board with the shift. Old biases can act like anchors, slowing down change to a snail’s pace. By ensuring that everyone understands the benefits of change, they’re more likely to go along with it and to help out as necessary during the transition.
Let’s go back to the software development analogy again. If a team of enterprise test developers were given all new quality assurance metrics without being told why new QA metrics were in place or what they’re supposed to be prioritizing, would they still use them? Also, under these circumstances, would all of the metrics be followed anyway? If the shift was fully explained, then these enterprise test pros would be much more likely to follow them and ensure a quality product is later issued to end users.
2) Get lots of different stakeholders on board with the change
Unless the change is minor, it’s likely going to involve a lot of people. This is true even at small businesses that have just a handful of employees. By providing thorough and repetitive training to all staff members involved in the change, organizations can be sure that all stakeholders understand the shift and are pulling their weight during the pivot process.
This can be especially necessary but tough if the different stakeholders are totally new to the element being changed. For example, during the transition from waterfall to agile methodologies, end users of the software are brought in eventually to provide feedback on the development process. These users will be totally unaccustomed to providing actionable feedback to software engineers, but it’s necessary for them to do so in order for the final product to be the best it can be. The transition may be painful, but if all the different stakeholders understand their new roles and are on board with them, then change will be positive and rewarding.
3) Roll it out slowly and with a distinct plan in place
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither should organizational change. Even small adjustments should be well thought out, and large-scale change may not fully occur until many months or even years down the line. Implementing change is not for the impatient, but being the tortoise and not the hare is the best approach.
By rolling out change slowly, a business can get a better sense early on regarding what’s actually needed to make it a reality, if additional tweaks to the initial change plan are necessary, and if the change is even worthwhile to pursue. This philosophy is central to enterprise test pros that use agile methodologies, and it rings true in other applications as well.
4) Don’t be afraid of using new tools and techniques in addition to the main change
Sometimes, in order for a broader change to come about, organizations need to adopt new tools to help this change along. This is especially true to wider organizational change or process adjustments. Indeed a recent survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers of around 1,400 chief executives around the world found that 90 percent of those surveyed said they are shifting their approach to technology as employee and customer demands evolve.
For software development changes, one of the best tools to adopt is an enterprise test management solution. While it can be tough to deal with multiple changes all at once, it is often the best approach to take. Think of it like an adhesive bandage: Would you rather take it off very slowly over time, or rip it off all at once? Adopting new tools to help with a wider change underway is like ripping off the bandage, only less painful and better for the bottom line.
Are you looking to learn about the current market state of agile, automation, mobile, and IoT? Read Zephyr’s How the World Tests Report 2016 for key insights that will help bolster your testing expertise!
Be sure to follow best practices when implementing any change.
Author: Sanjay Zalavadia, VP, Client Services, Zephyr
As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. Sanjay has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.