Adopt Rational Team Concert (RTC) and RTC Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) faster and better (Part 2/2)

April 8, 2014

This is the second article of series of two dedicated to Enterprise tooling adoption. In the first article, we’ve discussed some core concepts and results borrowed from social psychology field. We’ve noted how familiarity with a new tool is important to minimize resistance to adoption.

In this second article, we provide some supporting material depicting how to keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. First from a general stand-point and then for the specific adoption of:

These latter ones should be seen as extra layers coming on top of the initial layer of Enterprise tooling adoption.

Choice of a radar screen presentation…

The radar screen format is self-explanatory and introduces the intuitive idea of refining cycles and continuous improvement. Which is exactly how adoption should be conducted, i.e. each of the points on the radar should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Intent for me is not to comment on each item of these charts (*) but rather let them “as is”. For now, this rather comes as a “big picture” that you may find of a good support when either discussing with your local IBM team or business partner or when preparing the next steps for making adoption at your company progress.

(*): that would be done in a live meeting between yourself and a subject matter expert (from IBM or a Business Partner).

Note: If you’re looking for something more prescriptive on how to deploy RTC/CLM, please check the Reference links below.

… and how to use it.

Before deployment, you should wonder if there is an action plan against each of the points on your radar. If yes, what will be the impact of each action plan on the resistance to change (R.T.C) ? If no, what will be the impact of this lack on the R.T.C. ?

During deployment, you can make a retrospective of the impact of your actions plans on the R.T.C.

At the end of each deployment iteration, you should perform a retrospective to identify what actions were the most effective for reducing R.T.C.

1. Adoption of Enterprise tooling: radar screen for success

EnterpriseToolingAdoption

Click to enlarge

Order of adoption: RTC or RTC EE first ?

Shall you start adopting RTC in your distributed or in your mainframe teams ?–> A sound approach is to start with the most critical to you !

2. Adoption of RTC: radar screen for success

RTCAdoption

Click to enlarge

3. Adoption of RTC EE: radar screen for success

RTCEEAdoption

Click to enlarge

References:

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Simon Washbrook for his review and always useful remarks.


3 Things to know for facilitating Enterprise tool adoption (emphasizing the human and change management factors) (Part 1/2)

April 4, 2014

In my recent engagements with mainframe customers (and especially with the project managers in charge of the in-house deployment of Rational tooling), I identified a common pattern where we start speaking in-house processes and numbers (of developers or teams), their IT architecture, etc. but where – at some point of time – we take a step back and start discussing how the adoption of their new Enterprise tooling went so far, how it was implemented and the possible concerns that remains.

A common pattern… and one point which needs to be emphasized.

Innovation is a fact ! As is the resistance to change by end users and the necessity to respect company policies. These are the biggest hindrances to a successful (Enterprise) modernization. To mitigate these risks, an appropriate strategy (including adoption, management of expectations, roll-out, training, etc.) is the key for avoiding shelf-ware or rejection.

 A series of TWO articles…

In the first article, we will discuss some core concepts and results from social psychology field.

In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively.

Core concepts from social psychology

The purpose of this section is to leverage some core concepts and results from social psychology space. We want some valid terminology  clarifying what one could feel to a certain extent… but yet in a fuzzier way ! Note: to this regard, this post shares a common viewpoint with a previous blog post.

The couple of definitions and concepts I found useful to exhibit in the context of an Adoption process are the following:

  • Effort Expectancy (E.E.) aka “perceived ease of use”
  • Performance Expectancy (P.E.) aka “perceived usefulness”
  • Resistance to Change (R.T.C.)

In the context of a Learning process (borrowing from the field of pedagogy), you can think of:

Writer’s note: as you’ve certainly figured out, there is some overlap in acronyms: “RTC” and “EE” could be interpreted in two ways here… To disambiguate, I shall using the orange color for terms coming from social psychology. That way, Rational Team Concert (RTC) and Resistance to Change (R.T.C.) should not be confused. Same thing for EE and E.E. !

Application to Information Science and Technology

Here I’m relaying some previous results from the following source: “Resistance to change and the adoption of digital libraries: an integrative model” [JASIST’2009]

  • «A user’s intention to adopt a new technology is influenced by a variety of beliefs and perceptions
  • «Domain-specific R.T.C. is both a direct and indirect antecedent of users’ E.E. and P.E.»
  • «Understanding the role of R.T.C. in user adoption can help designers and managers create a better fit between systems’ design and their intended users’ personal characteristics.»

Encourage familiarity with the new tool…

  • «To encourage users who are high on R.T.C., new systems should be designed such that they are not perceived to embody a lot of change. This can be done by retaining as many characteristics of older systems, computerized or not.»
  • «Systems’ implementation and users’ training could be better done if users did not perceive a new system as embodying much change.»
  • «When a new system is introduced, familiar aspects of a new system could be highlighted to mitigate users’ resistance.»

… and demonstrate benefits […] in the context that is important to adopters.

  • «Illustrate to users the potential benefits of the system, and how these can be demonstrated.

by using testimonials, by linking resources to course listings,  and in any other way that will enable users to demonstrate the benefits in the context that is important to them. »

Conclusion

The content of this article could appear far from IT space in the first hand. In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively. Keeping in mind the concepts and results from social psychology…

Thumbnail Part2


RTC / RTC EE: adopt terminology first !

January 24, 2014

Last week,  I was on a business trip to China with a colleague of mine. We met multiple local IBM teams and visited a couple of financial customers.

During our customer-facing sessions, questions raised by the customer were technical in essence which is… fair enough as we’re part of the RETT (Rational Emerging Technologies Team). But some questions revealed:

  • some misconception about the product (RTC / RTC EE)
  • some reluctance of parts of the customer organization for adopting a newer, yet different but more modern tool with safer workflows.

As an illustration, it appeared that the technical lead in charge of the RTC EE adoption at one of these customers still used the terms of checkin/checkout for RTC SCM when discussing with us.

Despite:

  • RTC does NOT have a concept of checkout (although RTC does support resource locking – currently at the stream-level)
  • Customer organization had started migrating to RTC EE almost 2 years before…

I see multiple drawbacks in this:

  • Sticking to the terminology from a previous tooling in technical discussions about the capabilities of a newer tool is confusing. It basically assumes features that are not present in the product or, at least, not as is… As such this mismatch is a brake for adoption of the new features.
  • Actually, I was even more concerned that this speech was coming from someone in charge of the adoption of our tooling. Assuming that most of developers in the customer organization would share the same terms…

As a result, I decided to clarify and made the point that in RTC, you load projects and components, you checkin change sets, and deliver them to a stream. This change in emphasis made it simpler to discuss business scenarios to be implemented in RTC EE (SCM here) at this customer’s.

Terminology-first

A disconnect in terminology is more important than it seems:

  • It introduces a gap compared to the proper concepts, which are basic prerequisites for elaborating the right workflows in RTC to implement a business scenario.
  • It’s a good indicator that trainings and pilot phases missed at least some targets. Basically the “infusion” of the up-to-date concepts that match the tools used by developers on a day-to-day basis.

I came up with the following ideas:

  • Answering customer initial questions is only ONE piece of the solution.
  • Other aspects (not raised by customers) need to be addressed with the same attention:
    • the return over experience in the training area,
    • the return over experience in the pilot projects,
    • the management of the change (from various point of views: organizational, managerial, etc. ),
    • the adoption in general.

Taking the whole combination into consideration is key for success.

In the contrary case, an ultimate bad effect would be that SCM management simply do not trust their developers wrt. their usage of the new tooling. Possibly triggering… a second bad effect : having the SCM management to try enforcing too much process in the tool to substitute the lack of training of their developer. Not the right route anyway…..

As a recap, here are the simple things that should be kept in mind when adopting RTC / RTC EE:

  • Even if adoption is accomplished in a stepwise manner, make sure everyone uses the RTC terminology asap in your organization.
  • If you’re in a team focusing on adoption of RTC, make sure you replace questions/feedback/concerns of your developer in the correct terminology.

%d bloggers like this: