1. Have an off day
Most big computer systems start with an off day. A senior person in an organisation has a difficult morning and by the afternoon, they have unwittingly committed their organisation to a multi million pound computer system. It is the job of the IT salesperson to hunt down anxious individuals and catch them when they’re down. Both parties win – the salesperson gets the sale and the senior officer gets relief. All workplace ‘what ifs’ and ‘might bes’ can be taken care of by the combined technologies of an integrated system. The new software will make everything that hurts, better.
2. Put together a cost benefit analysis
It is normal practice to write a cost benefit analysis before buying a new computer system. When I say write, I mean engage a consultant to write it. When I say engage, I mean pay a consultant money to write a cost benefit analysis for a new computer system. Before paying a consultant to write a cost benefit analysis for a new computer system, you need to write a cost benefit analysis for engaging a consultant to write a cost benefit analysis for a new computer system. To write this cost benefit analysis, make sure you are familiar with the correct template for a cost benefit analysis. You can find this document quickly and easily on your existing documents management system.
3. Take it to management team
After 28 drafts, 2 site visits, 14 workshops and a consultation period, you can now take your business case through the approvals process. Anyone who finds fault in your document is a Luddite and should be humiliated on the spot. If you think someone has a reasonable point, attack them with an Einstein quote. Try “”If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got” and finish them off with “insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Every big computer system is approved because technology is the future. Evidence of repeated big IT failures cannot help the future because learning from the past isn’t in the future. Technology is the future and the future is technology.
4.Set up a project team
Now your project documents have been approved you can set up a project team to police the roll out. Select people who you can imagine in uniform holding a clipboard and shouting at people in a queue. Call them champions but don’t treat them like champions because they are not. It is the champion’s job to spread fear about the new system. Tell them that all personal documents will be either shared with the rest of the class or destroyed. Everyone must adhere to a new filing system or will be locked out of their own homes. Deny these rumours if challenged and insist that the purpose of the new system is to improve services for the most vulnerable people in our society.
5. Test it out
You now need a large team of Super Users. These people are not super. But it is your job to use them. Think of them as Super Losers. Use your Super Losers to spy on their colleagues and report anyone who doesn’t save new documents in the correct format. The new system has to be run on fear or it won’t work. Users will struggle to find anywhere to save new documents because the new system is impossible to get into, nevermind use. Regardless, the council has spent a lot of money on the new technology enabled future and you must not allow staff to spoil it. If your spies catch anyone using the old shared drive, send them on a training course. Any questions or comments on the new system are ‘user errors’.
6. Talk about teething troubles
Once the local newspaper gets wind of just how terrible the new computer system is and how much is cost, minimise the disruption by talking about teething troubles. Staff may well have hot cheeks and hurting mouths, but this will pass as soon as the new system beds in. Restate that technology is the future and that the organisation is proud to be part of that.
8. Declare a culture change
Once the press has moved onto something else, you can declare that a culture change has taken place thanks to the new culture change. By this time, enough staff will believe the new system is an improvement even if it isn’t. If there are any residual complaints, these can be written off as one-off incidents or ‘not how it is supposed to work’. It will never work as it is supposed to work because how it is supposed to work is a fantasy. Remember, this is the original fantasy you bought when you had that bad morning 16 months ago.
9. Blame someone else
When the whole organisation finally grinds to a password lockdown, you can blame user error, loser error or a breakdown in communication between your champions and the project management team. No one will ever find out who did it. The cost benefits analysis and associated documents will be lost forever in the new system, destroyed by the now out- of -control record destruction policy; the policy originally designed to keep the organisation safe that is now attacking itself. So you don’t need to worry about being blamed. After all, as project manager, it’s your not fault you had an off day. We all have them.
Please not that this is an accurate description of how big IT projects are rolled out in public sector organisations and it is not supposed to be funny.