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Getting Past Project Resistance: Some Methods to Try

Question: Have you ever done an IT project without encountering some resistance?

Your Likely Answer: No

Any agency staff member charged with a transformational project like digitization has probably encountered resistance. Resistance often can be traced back to staff. Not everyone buys into change. And depending on their role in the organization, they can gum up the works by sitting on budgets and ownership.

Remember that digital transformation encompasses an agency's culture, goals, and objectives. Digging deeper, we usually modify people and processes to fit new technology. However, difficulties arise when you align new roles and responsibilities with the latest tech.

Staff opposition usually arises from inertia and incomprehension, which have a negative impact on transformation. Inertia springs from the protests of "we've always done the process this way" response to suggested changes in processes or anything. Incomprehension limits the ability of staff to see the need to transform digitally.

Overcoming opposition

One fundamental way to overcome resistance is transparency, and the way to prove transparency is to show evidence and research. When you want to introduce change in the form of digitization:

  1. Perform some user experience research and do some testing on your own.

  2. Present your findings from the point of view of a user.

  3. Keep the communications channel open and take and implement feedback.

  4. Consider finding another agency that has digitized and invite them to speak to your team.

"Our earliest wins came by working alongside our users to identify processes and services for change, iterating on solutions and ultimately earning their trust by showing them we were listening." - Digitized Agency, CIO.

Another idea to consider is to Identify your most influential employees and early adopters who will help others learn the new processes while keeping everyone excited and optimistic. These internal champions boost the team's morale while receiving "credit" for aligning themselves with a successful initiative.

Clarify your vision

Thoughtfully prioritize parts of your complete digital picture and focus on those first; changing the entire organization at once can be overwhelming and confusing, thus making it more likely you'll face stiff resistance.

If possible, immediately get some visibly quick wins with short- or medium-term ROI. Clearly communicate the results to the agency so they'll be onboard for digitization as a whole.

We've helped a few hundred agencies digitize, so if you would like to discuss this with one of our experts, please let us know. We'll be happy to set up a call.



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