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3 Keys To Succeed After Software Implementation

Software implementation might feel like the last step in your software development journey. It isn't.
Daniel Zacharias

Daniel Zacharias

November 22, 2023

Did you know that a jaw-dropping 70% of tech projects don’t meet their intended goals because of issues that arise after the software has been implemented? That’s right, nearly three out of four projects miss the mark—not because of coding errors, design flaws, or lack of features—but due to post-implementation hiccups. That’s why today, we’re diving into how to safeguard your software investment long after the confetti has settled, and the virtual champagne has been popped.

The myth of the “Finish Line”: Understanding the journey ahead

When you finally click that “Deploy” button, it’s tempting to kick back and savor the sweet taste of success. But let’s get one thing straight: implementation is just a single milestone in the long and winding road of a software project. If you think your job is done, you’re setting yourself up for a world of disappointment.

When the going gets tough, the tough keep going

To keep your software running like a well-oiled machine, you need to think beyond its launch day. Let’s take your average SaaS platform. It’s not static, it evolves. And so should your approach. This means regular updates, new feature releases, and periodic security audits.

Counting the cost of neglect

Do you know what happens when you don’t keep tabs on your software? Bad stuff. That’s what. We’re talking about:

  • Software decay: Features get obsolete, code gets sluggish.
  • User churn: If you’re not improving, your customers are leaving.
  • Hidden costs: Think emergency fixes, rushed updates, and sky-high stress levels.

Key 1: Adaptive training and upskilling for your team

In the tech industry, the software is as good as the team that manages it. Once your software is live, you need to ensure your team members have the skills to keep it that way.

The lifeblood of any technology: People

We get it. You’ve invested a good chunk of change in this software. But remember, the most advanced tech stack is worthless if your team doesn’t know how to use it. You wouldn’t give a Ferrari to someone who’s never driven before, would you?

The ABCs of effective training

Training isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Here’s how to adapt training that resonates with different learning styles:

  • Hands-on workshops: Because sometimes, doing is the best way of learning.
  • Periodic assessments: To gauge how much your team has absorbed and where they need help.
  • Mentorship programs: Pair less experienced team members with pros for on-the-job learning.

Key 2: Fostering a feedback-driven culture

Now that we’ve tackled the importance of training and upskilling, let’s move to the second cornerstone of post-implementation success: feedback. You can have the most advanced tech stack and the most talented developers, but if you’re not listening to your team, clients, and collaborators, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Why your team’s voice matters

Here’s the deal. No one knows your software better than the people who use it daily. Their insights are like nuggets of gold waiting to be mined. Whether it’s a slight tweak to improve user interface or a game-changing feature idea, you’ll find the wisdom within your own ranks.

A feedback loop that works

Constructive feedback isn’t just useful — it’s essential. But how do you ensure you’re gathering actionable insights rather than the typical “all is good” responses? Try these strategies:

  • Anonymous suggestion boxes: Let’s be honest, nobody likes being the bearer of bad news. Anonymity can encourage honest feedback.
  • Regular check-in meetings: Create a space where team members can voice their thoughts without fear of judgment.
  • Digital forums: Team chat rooms or intranet forums can serve as excellent platforms for spontaneous feedback and brainstorming.

Key 3: Sustainable maintenance is more than bug fixes

You’ve trained your team, listened to their feedback, and you’re feeling pretty good. But there’s still one more piece to this puzzle: maintenance. We’re not just talking about squashing bugs. We’re talking about ongoing, sustainable maintenance.

Beyond the glitch: Maintenance redefined

Think of your software as a living organism. It needs to adapt, evolve, and yes, even grow a little. Maintenance isn’t just about putting out fires but also about the following:

  • Adding new features: To keep your software current and competitive.
  • Performance optimization: Slow software is a fast route to an irritated user base.
  • Security updates: Don’t wait for a crisis to fix vulnerabilities.

Dollars and sense: Why ignoring maintenance can be costly

For those who might be tempted to skimp on maintenance, let’s do a quick reality check. Deferred maintenance might save you some bucks today, but it’ll cost you a fortune down the line in:

  • Customer loss: Nobody sticks around for a stale experience.
  • Emergency fixes: These come with a high price tag and a mountain of stress.
  • Reputation damage: One major failure can leave a permanent scar on your brand.

Putting it all together: A strategic roadmap

Alright, we’ve dissected the three keys to post-implementation success. But knowing the pieces doesn’t automatically complete the puzzle. So let’s connect the dots and create a roadmap that takes you from launch day to sustained success.

Timing is everything: Creating a calendar of actions

The first step is to sketch out a timeline for your key initiatives. For instance:

  • Week 1: Initial training sessions and skill assessment tests.
  • Week 2-4: Collecting internal feedback via scheduled meetings and digital forums.
  • Month 1-3: Implementing the first wave of maintenance updates based on feedback. This calendar not only guides your team but also acts as a quick reference to track your progress.

Accountability: Who does what, when?

Assign specific roles and responsibilities to your team members. Make it clear who is responsible for what, from handling regular updates to managing the feedback loop. This avoids the classic “I thought you were doing it” mishaps.

Don’t just measure, act: Data-driven decision-making

Metrics are more than just pretty graphs. They offer actionable insights—if you know what you’re looking at. Every metric should lead to an action. For example:

  • High churn rate? Revisit your features and user interface.
  • Slow performance? Time for some optimization.
  • Frequent security threats? Schedule an immediate security audit.

Once you have your data, put it to work. Create a dynamic action plan that evolves based on your metrics, and make sure you’re prioritizing tasks based on urgency and impact, setting achievable milestones, and reviewing and revising the plan as you collect more data.

Your next steps to bulletproof your software investment

So, you’ve reached the end of this guide, but remember, it’s never the end of the road when it comes to sustaining your software project. If you’ve internalized these keys—adaptive training, feedback-driven culture, and sustainable maintenance—you’re well on your way to ensuring that your software not only survives but thrives.

Quick checklist: Are you ready?

Before you dive into the trenches, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a structured training program in place?
  • Is there a system to collect and analyze feedback?
  • Have I budgeted for ongoing maintenance costs?

By now, you should have the tools you need to succeed in the challenging yet rewarding world of post-software implementation. Go ahead, turn these insights into action and watch your software investment flourish.

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