Changing People is Harder than Changing Technology

confused dudeJust a follow-up thought to my post on strategic and technology planning. I’m sure y’all know this, but guess what? The technology planning and implementation is the easy part.

The hard part is the people.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Last year, my library’s biggest technology project was our RFID/Self Check project. It included tagging every item in the collection with an RFID tag and installing eleven self check kiosks throughout the building.

The technology part was easy – we worked with our vendors to make sure the kiosks worked, the new RFID gates went up, and the RFID tagging stations worked.

The hard part was “everything else,” which included:

  • planning a bunch of RFID tagging teams and schedules (we closed for a week and staff did the tagging)
  • rethinking customer flow in our circulation lobby and around the building
  • teaching our customers the “new way to check out”
  • Working through a new process for our technical services and circulation departments

And I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Has the technology been flawless? No – it’s technology. Something WILL go wrong.

But the “people” part – that affects everyone. You want to make sure the technology parts are done right. But also make certain to get the most important parts of your project right, too. The people parts.

Image by Jonny Wikins

Five P’s of Preparation

I’m reading The Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Getting Results with Groups by Michael Wilkinson (all us managers at the library are reading it right now).

I just read about the 5 P’s of Preparation – talking about planning for a meeting (on page 53). But I realized as I was reading the 5 P’s that they also work pretty well for planning and discussing a technology project.

So – here are my modified 5 P’s of Techie Project Planning:

  1. Purpose – what are the key objectives, why are we building/redesigning this?
  2. Product – what’s the goal? What’s the end result? How will we know we were successful?
  3. Participants – who needs to be involved? Who are we building this for?
  4. Probable issues – are there any concerns? Any roadblocks or challenges in our way? How can we prevent those?
  5. Process – What steps do we need to take to meet our goals?

What steps do you use when planning a technology or web project? Do they look similar to this? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Bigstock

Check out builtwith.com

Mark this down as a cool tool for your website-building toolkit…

Ever wondered what CMS or web server a certain website was using? Wonder no more! Simply enter the URL of that interesting site into builtwith.com and voila! – this site will tell you all that geeky stuff!

For example, look at their CMS page. For the top million websites that BuiltWith tracks, they find that 62.87% of websites use WordPress, 14.77% use DotNetNuke, 10.25% use Joomla, and 3.40% use Drupal. Then when you move to their Top 10,000 sites graph, those percentages change quite a bit.

Or look at the Top Payment Distribution Services – look at the top 10,000 sites graph. % us Paypal (duh), 35.94% use CCBill, 10.94% use Google Checkout, then Flattr, Mollie, and Amazon Payment Services are there, too. CCBill, Flattr, and Mollie? Never heard of them.

So – use it to check out your website against others, use it as a discovery tool to learn about new services. Pretty handy!

Swiss Army knife by AJC1